Former Chisago Co. Sheriff charged with stalking, threats in letter-writing scheme

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Photo by the Chisago County Sheriff's Office 

The former Chisago County Sheriff was charged Friday with stalking, threats of violence and misconduct while he with the department in October and November 2017.

The Anoka County sheriff’s office handled the investigation and prosecution into Richard Duncan’s case. The victim in the case was the county’s records clerk at the time of the crimes.

According to a criminal complaint, Duncan wrote a series of threatening letters to himself and the victim of the case under the pseudonym “Control Freak.”

It began when Duncan and the victim met for a special meeting about “an upcoming job opportunity.” At that meeting, Duncan told the victim to read a letter he had from “Control Freak,” that indicated the writer knew where she lived and that she was married with children. It also threatened something could happen if the victim did not follow the plan.

The plan involved Duncan and the victim going to a law enforcement training in Bemidji and staying in same hotel room.  Duncan suggested the victim play along with the contents of the letter to draw “Control Freak” into writing again.

Over time, Duncan told the victim he received more letters and even said he found some near the victim’s home.  Subsequent letters instructed Duncan and the victim how to get to Bemidji, where to stay and what to wear there. Further letters also threatened harm to the victim and her family.

The victim eventually told Duncan she would not go to the Bemidji conference and would instead take her chances with “Control Freak.”

Duncan told the victim a few days later that “Control Freak” was calling everything off.

After these incidences, the victim reported the events to personnel in the Chisago County Sheriff’s Department who referred her to the County’s HR department.

An investigation was conducted, including two scheduled depositions from Duncan, but he cancelled the first one due to an alleged family emergency.

Before the second deposition, the investigator received an email from the Duncan’s civil attorney which was a forwarded email from him saying, “I, and only I, am the source of the emails and text messages in regard to the current inquiry.”

Shortly thereafter, the defendant resigned his position as the Chisago County Sheriff.

According to police, Duncan had made a reservation for a single room with a king-size bed for the conference, but cancelled it prior to arrival.