A Chisago County judge handed Bill Pulkrabek a fine, probation and a stayed jail sentence on Wednesday -- and then scolded the Washington County commissioner for violating the public trust.
"When things of this nature happen, it does do damage," said Judge John McBride, who told Pulkrabek that he'll have to work hard to restore his reputation.
Pulkrabek, 42, has represented Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Landfall and a portion of Woodbury on the county board since 1998. Accused in a Memorial Day scuffle with his then-girlfriend, he agreed on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He originally was charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.
Pulkrabek entered an Alford plea, which means that he maintained his innocence but recognized that sufficient evidence might exist for a jury to find him guilty.
"The state is amending the charge given the defendant's lack of any criminal history," City Attorney Wendy Murphy of Woodbury told McBride.
Pulkrabek declined to comment after the sentencing at the courthouse in Center City, where the case was heard to avoid a conflict of interest. In a statement provided by defense attorney Ryan Kaess,, the 13-year commissioner and former Oakdale mayor apologized for "my lapse in judgment" and said he looked forward to "renewed focus" on the Washington County board. "I made a mistake, and I am sorry," Pulkrabek wrote. "I am glad the distraction of this isolated incident is behind me."
Jill Samuelson had alleged that Pulkrabek became enraged during a quarrel over a cat and a skin-care product. She told police that he dragged her out of his Woodbury apartment by her hair.
"The fallout has been nothing less than devastating," Samuelson said in a statement that a victim advocate read in court. Samuelson, who was not present, alleged that she has suffered flashbacks, lost time at work and "astronomical medical bills" worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Samuelson also said that Pulkrabek would benefit from sobriety and anger counseling. "He needs to be free of the obstacles in his life or he is a ticking time bomb that will explode," she said.
McBride said the Alford plea left him "unsettled" because he'll never know all the facts of the case. The judge fined Pulkrabek $200, put him on probation for one year, stayed a 30-day jail sentence for a year, told him to abide with harassment orders and ordered him to undergo an anger-management assessment. Pulkrabek has completed the assessment, Kaess said.
"My client strongly maintains his innocence and he did not admit guilt today," Kaess said after the sentencing.
Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037