A 19-year-old with a sex offense and other violent crimes on his record from California got high with a 14-year-old acquaintance and raped her at his grandparents’ home southwest of the Twin Cities, according to charges filed this week.
Bryton P. Kraft was charged in Le Sueur County District Court with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He had moved to Montgomery, Minn., with his grandparents at least 2½ years ago from western Wisconsin — where law enforcement authorities had sought to keep him out of their community after he was categorized in 2012 as “most likely to offend.”
Kraft, who was arrested Sept. 8 but released as the investigation continued, was charged by summons.
Patricia Kraft said Wednesday that her grandson “knows nothing” about the charges. “He’s standing right here. They’re filing false charges once again. I’m so sick of it.”
In Minnesota, Kraft was not determined to be a Level 3 sex offender, the state’s most serious designation. Therefore, Le Sueur County Sheriff David Tietz explained Tuesday, law enforcement agencies were aware of Kraft’s criminal history but no public notification was made.
“He was registered with the Sheriff’s Office,” Tietz said, but there was no community notification. Juvenile offenders are not assigned a risk status of any kind in Minnesota.
At 16, Kraft and his grandparents had moved to New Richmond, Wis., in September 2012, several months after he was convicted in California of attempted rape of an employee at a group home for sex offenders in San Diego.
An evaluation by St. Croix County law enforcement authorities had called for Kraft to be prevented from coming to New Richmond, but federal law prevented such a ban because he was moving with his legal guardians, according to New Richmond Police Chief Mark Samelstad.
Samelstad then informed the public that Kraft was in the community and that he was considered at “high risk” by California authorities to reoffend.
In May, Kraft allegedly raped a girl whom he met through other friends. Le Sueur County authorities checked Kraft’s criminal history in California and found several offenses, some violent.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl told authorities:
Kraft and another teenager arrived at her friend’s house asking about marijuana or a cigarette. The girl said she and the others drove around and got “really high.”
She and Kraft then went to his grandparents’ home and had sex in his room. “She did not know what was happening because she was really high,” the complaint said. “As he took off her clothes, she said she wondered, ‘Is this really happening?’ ”
The girl said she knew that Kraft was at least 18, and he knew that she was 14 and told her not to say anything because he could get in legal trouble.
Upon his arrest, Kraft denied knowing the girl and said he wanted an attorney.
One count of criminal sexual conduct is because of the girl’s age and the other is connected to her vulnerable state while under the influence of marijuana.