A Blue Earth, Minn., woman has been charged with perjury and aiding an offender for allegedly lying to protect one of the youths charged in the beating and sexual assault of a Blue Earth Area High School football teammate in 2017.

Allison A. Mastin, 36, was charged last week in Faribault County District Court with the felonies, which could bring a prison sentence of five years or more.

According to the complaint, Mastin lied in a court hearing when she said under oath that Wyatt Tungland was at her home when the alleged beating took place. Tungland had already admitted to police that he was present during the incident, according to the complaint.

Two of the youths charged in the incident have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced. A third is a juvenile, and his records are not open to the public.

Tungland is scheduled for trial on April 24. He has asked for his trial to take place in Hennepin County, saying that adverse publicity makes it impossible for him to get a fair trial in southern Minnesota.

John Reinan

Pine County

Fine reduced for religious leader

A former Pine County religious leader who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting girls in his congregation is getting money knocked off the fine in his sentence.

Victor A. Barnard, 57, is serving 24 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assaulting two girls in the River Road Fellowship in the 2000s. When a judicial technicality sent the case back to the district court to impose that sentence, reduced from a previously imposed 30 years in prison, the judge raised his fine from $50 to $12,000 per count. The money was to go to the state and a victim advocacy program.

But a Minnesota Court of Appeals panel found last week that the increased fine wasn’t permitted under case law. A district court “may not impose a greater sentence on remand than the sentence originally imposed,” the court found.

Barnard’s fines will now go back to $50 each.

Pam Louwagie

Hibbing

Ski trails upgraded with new equipment

The Carey Lake Recreation Area unveiled new trail grooming equipment capable of setting trails with less snow than the previous system, meaning more ski days each season.

The 1,100-acre park also now has the flexibility to groom a dedicated fat bike trail, thanks to grants from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board and a federal recreational trail program.

The city of Hibbing manages the park with help from the Range Nordic Gliders, a nordic skiing nonprofit.

Matt McKinney