A Prior Lake man has pleaded guilty to molesting a woman he didn’t know in a booth at a popular drinking spot near the University of Minnesota.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9 for 22-year-old Benjamin Sloan, who admitted to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor, in exchange for dismissal of a felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct count.
Sloan’s plea comes in what is called a “stay of adjudication,” meaning that if he abides by the terms of his two years of probation, the guilty count will be dismissed.
Terms of the plea must be approved by Hennepin County District Judge Tamara Garcia during sentencing. Those terms include serving 80 days in the workhouse and undergoing a psychosexual exam.
A 22-year-old woman told police that on Sept. 11, 2016, she was in Sally’s Saloon with a friend, when two strangers sat down in the booth with them.
Sloan kept talking to the woman and trying to put his arm around her over her objections, the charges against him read. He then grabbed the woman’s breasts, reached into her pants and digitally penetrated her. He also tried to kiss the woman and bit her on the shoulder, according to the complaint.
Under questioning by police, Sloan said nothing happened, but that if anything did, he touched her breasts by accident. He denied reaching into her pants. A DNA sample taken from the woman’s pants was tested and was a match to Sloan, the complaint read.
In late spring 2014, about two weeks after a prank letter went out under official-looking Prior Lake High School letterhead announcing “mandatory vagina inspection” at the gym, a photo of the 18-year-old Sloan and three others holding the bogus notice was posted on Twitter with the hashtag “SeniorConfession.”
Neither police nor school officials have ever said who was behind the stunt, which sparked outrage from school administrators as the letter’s contents drew national media attention.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482