Grand Forks man convicted for sexually assaulting 6-year-old
GRAND FORKS — None of the 12 jurors glanced at 52-year-old Jeffrey Scott Krogstad as they reentered the Grand Forks County District courtroom Thursday, April 25, after about an hour of deliberation.
Shortly after Judge John Thelen read out the guilty verdict for gross sexual imposition, the 7-year-old victim’s family hugged one another while some held back tears.
Sentencing for Krogstad is scheduled for September. He could face up to life in prison.
Jurors watched a forensic interview video Wednesday in which the victim, then 6, said Krogstad would drive her “to the middle of nowhere,” show her pornography and fondle her. She said he sometimes touched her with a vibrating blue toy.
The girl, now 7 and in first grade, took the stand Wednesday clutching a teddy bear for support.
Investigators testified Wednesday about finding a blue body massage wand that matched one described by the girl in Krogstad’s van.
Amy Gebhardt of the North Dakota State Crime Lab testified Thursday that DNA from the massage wand found in Krogstad’s van likely matched DNA tested from him and the girl.
An affidavit for Krogstad’s arrest said he sexually assaulted the child numerous times between Feb. 7 and July 19, 2018. The girl was living with her grandmother, who was friends with Krogstad, she testified.
The state rested its case after Gebhardt’s testimony and the defense followed, calling no additional witnesses. Krogstad did not testify in the three-day trial.
During his closing statement, Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Eyre pointed to numerous facts corroborating the child’s statements, including items found in the van, videos on Krogstad’s phone and the DNA evidence.
“Her innocence was stolen,” Eyre said. “Her innocence was stolen by the defendant.”
Krogstad’s attorney, David Ogren, asked jurors to consider every possibility when looking at the case. He pointed to a previous accusation the girl made several years ago that was determined by police to be unfounded. He said there are similarities between the cases and asked jurors if they were sure the girl was not coached into allegations against Krogstad.
The girl is doing “surprisingly well,” her family said. She even went to play at the park after testifying Wednesday.