Jeremy Giefer charged with domestic assault before Pawlenty pardon [UPDATE]
New details of Jeremy Giefer's lifetime of legal problems make it harder than ever to understand how he got his record cleared by the Board of Pardons.
The red flags were already abundant: Giefer, a confessed and convicted sex offender, told the Board he wanted his record wiped to clear the way for a childcare center in his home.
The Board of Pardons also knew that Giefer had recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for picking a fight with a cop. And they should have known that he had recently helped convince a police officer to handcuff a drunk woman and threaten her with a citation if she didn't show Giefer and others her breasts.
But it turns out that's the least of it. Court records make clear that Giefer had actually been charged with domestic assault and malicious punishment of a child just five years before the Pardon board granted his pardon request and cleared his record.
A passage from Jeremy Giefer's 2003 domestic abuse file.
One March night in 2003, Giefer hit one of his children so hard that it left a mark the next day that prompted an investigation by the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department. Giefer confessed to delivering the blow, according to the Sheriff's complaint:
"Mr. Giefer stated that he had slapped [the child] with an open hand on the face because his son would not go to bed after being told three times to do so."
Between the confession and the child's "three abrasions on the left side of his face around his temple area," the Sheriff's department had the goods on Giefer.
But Giefer was able to get the charges of domestic assault and malicious punishment of a child dismissed on condition that he go a year without racking up any similar offenses.
The incident doesn't show up in an online search of Giefer's criminal record, but the records are available to anyone who asks for them at Blue Earth County Court, and would have been known to the Board of Pardons if they had scratched the surface of Giefer's court history before clearing his record.
Will Purvis's 2007 letter in support of Giefer's pardon.
One person who unquestionably knew about Giefer's child-beating incident was Will Purvis, a Blue Earth County Commissioner who wrote a letter in support of Giefer's pardon application in 2007. "I have seen him interact with his wife and children and he is a good husband and parent," Purvis told the board.
Will Purvis signed the domestic assault complaint against Giefer two years before writing in support of his pardon.
But just two years earlier, Purvis signed his name to a very different kind of document: acting in his capacity then as a deputy with the Sheriff's department, Purvis was the approving supervisor in the initial incident report. He also signed the complaint when Giefer was charged.
Why did Purvis endorse Giefer's pardon request two years after overseeing his prosecution for beating a seven-year-old? "This was a situation inside the family," Purvis told City Pages today.
"He said 'Yes, I did it, and it was wrong, and I want to change my behavior,' and in my mind that's what he was trying to do. He looked like a good candidate [for a pardon] at the time, and I guess I was deceived about that."
Assistant Blue Earth County Attorney Chris Rovney spoke after Giefer's hearing yesterday.
Sally Jo Sorensen
Giefer was back in court yesterday for his most recent charges: serially sexually abusing his young daughter over a span of seven years before and after he received his pardon. Deputy Blue Earth County Attorney Chris Rovney asked to add a dozen new felony charges related to Giefer's alleged abuse of his daughter.
Rovney also sought a DNA sample from Giefer to try to match against human protein samples found in places where the alleged victim says she had sex with Giefer. Giefer's lawyer, Robert Docherty, resisted, arguing that DNA evidence is easily contaminated and that in any case Giefer's DNA was likely to be all over his own house, since he lives there.
Judge Bradley Walker indicated that he was inclined to agree to the request for a DNA sample, but said he wants more time to consider it and the revised charges against Giefer.
Sally Jo Sorensen contributed reporting for this post.
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