Sells sentenced to 10 years

A Dunn County man accused of having sexual contact with a teenager must serve 10 years in prison, a judge ruled Tuesday at the Stark County Courthouse.

A Dunn County man accused of having sexual contact with a teenager must serve 10 years in prison, a judge ruled Tuesday at the Stark County Courthouse.

Judge H. Patrick Weir threw out a negotiated plea agreement in March, but was satisfied with the agreement presented at Kevin Sells hearing Tuesday.

"The sentence is certainly justified because of the violation of trust that the victim should have been able to place in the defendant with the defendant residing with the victim's mother," Weir said.

He also cited the age disparity between Sells and the 14-year-old victim and Sells' criminal history as reasons for wanting a longer sentence.

Between May 1 and June 26, Sells had sexual contact with his acquaintance's teenage daughter in her home, according to a Dunn County criminal complaint.


Jay Greenwood, Sells' attorney, and Ross Sundeen, Stark County state's attorney, both objected to a longer sentence at the March hearing.

"We were doing it in accord with other consistent sentencing practices throughout the state and we thought that sentence was consistent with other first-time sex offenders," Sundeen said.

However, he is pleased with the judge's decision.

"I think that the current sentence does what the court thinks is fair and just on the circumstances and I'm satisfied with the court's decision," Sundeen said.

The plea agreement proposed in March would have given Sells a 20-year sentence with 15 years suspended.

"The reason why I was not accepting of the previous plea agreement is the fact that this case involved the violation of a very young girl, by someone by whom she had every right to expect trust," Weir said.

He also called Sells' history "very troubling and violent."

"I don't see a whole lot of evidence in the presentence investigation that he's shown any degree of remorse," Weir said.


Some of Sells' criminal history includes domestic violence, Ross Sundeen, Stark County state's attorney.

"Typically, in each of those episodes alcohol was involved," Sundeen said.

The plea agreement Weir accepted sentenced Sells to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended and 10 years supervised probation. He will get credit for the 236 days he served at the Southwest Multi County Correction Center.

Sells will be eligible for parole after completing chemical dependency and sex offender treatment, Sundeen said.

Sells must also pay $1,025 in fees, register as a sex offender, have no contact with the victim, her family or with any children, along with other stipulations.

Paula Johnson, the teen's mother, pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor in December and was given two years unsupervised probation. She allowed Sells to remain in her home and have unsupervised contact with her daughter after she was aware of the sexual contact between them, according to her Dunn County criminal complaint.

Sundeen said the victim was placed in her father's custody in a different county shortly after authorities learned of the incident.

Greenwood declined comment after the hearing.

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