A North Oaks man flew his young sex-assault victim and her mother to Russia to avoid prosecution, and for a couple of years, his plan worked. But Monday, he pleaded guilty to charges that prosecutors refiled once the mother and daughter returned.

Randall R. Pettey, 54, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child over whom he held authority. A second felony sex-abuse charge was dropped in Ramsey County District Court on Monday.

In June 2010, Pettey was initially charged with molesting the girl, then 14, in the summer of 2009. The girl's mother had contacted child protection workers in 2010. The girl reported he touched her breasts and genitals.

Pettey told police in June 2010 that he had molested the girl in about five incidents the previous summer and said that "maybe in some weird way it was therapeutic for him," court papers state.

He was charged that June. But in November 2010, the case was dismissed due to the unavailability of the victim, who could not be located. It was believed the girl and her mother had moved to Russia.

Later, the pair contacted the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office and County Attorney's Office, saying they were back.

"They reported that they had gone to Russia in June 2010, approximately two weeks after Pettey had been charged. Pettey paid for the tickets," states a new complaint filed this year. The girl's mother told authorities that "Pettey postponed their return to the United States because he told her it would be better for his criminal case," the complaint says. "They did not return to the United States until after the case had been dismissed."

On Sept. 5, prosecutors filed the two new felony charges, an arrest warrant was issued and Pettey was arrested. He posted $75,000 bail the next day. Another arrest warrant was issued Sept. 28, and he was jailed Oct. 4.

Pettey had told the girl's mother that he would kill himself if he went to jail, the complaint says.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 14.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038