Charges dropped against priest who allegedly pointed AK-47 at daughter over her grades

Bartashevitch is a man of God and guns.

Bartashevitch is a man of God and guns.

Yesterday, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office announced it won't prosecute Kirill Bartashevitch, a 53-year-old St. Paul man who was hit with two felony terroristic threats charges for allegedly pointing an AK-47 at his daughter and threatening his wife during an argument about the girl's grades.

We wrote about the incident in January 2013, before we had any idea Bartashevitch is "a highly respected Russian Orthodox priest," as a Pioneer Press report describes him.

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While his case worked its way through the pretrial process last year, about 20 supporters from all over the world wrote to Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Ott Marek and expressed their admiration for Bartashevitch and how he's helped them on their journeys of faith. But it turns out character witnesses weren't needed, as Bartashevitch's wife and daughter eventually refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

Bartashevitch was arrested after a parent of one of his daughter's classmates at St. Paul Central High School informed authorities about a text she had seen on her child's phone detailing the alleged AK-47 incident, which stemmed from Bartashevitch's displeasure about his daughter getting Bs rather than As in school.

Bartashevitch's daughter and wife initially cooperated with authorities and corroborated the version of events outlined above, but, for one reason or another, they ultimately decided they didn't want him convicted after all.

We contacted Ramsey County Attorney's Office spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein for more information. He sent us this statement:

There was insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In this particular instance, the victims refused to cooperate, thus making it virtually impossible to prove a terroristic threats case.
In case you're wondering why Bartashevitch had an AK-47 in his Midway home in the first place, he claimed he purchased it shortly before the incident because in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, he was worried such weapons would soon be banned.

The PiPress reports that in addition to his priestly duties, Bartashevitch also used to work for Minneapolis Public Schools as an IT guy at Sheridan Elementary School and Emerson Spanish Immersion Learning Center. He started in 2000, the same year he was convicted of disorderly conduct thanks to another incident involving his wife. MPS put him on unpaid leave when the terroristic threats charges were filed.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]