A judge has denied a former Blue Earth Area football player’s petition to have a conviction in the 2017 assault of a teammate expunged and the case file sealed.
In a four-page ruling, Judge Michael Trushenski says 23-year-old Dalton Lee Nagel of Mankato did not include factors in his petition such as employment history, community involvement and steps taken toward rehabilitation for the court to consider.
“Defendant has not shown by clear and convincing evidence that an expungement would yield a benefit to the defendant commensurate with the disadvantages to the public,” says Trushenski.
In a letter to the court last September, Nagel’s attorney, Michael Kircher, asked that his client’s conviction of fifth-degree criminal sexual misconduct be expunged because it interfered with his ability to obtain employment.
During a Dec. 12 hearing, Kircher argued that Nagel was set to start a new job when the company suddenly informed him they would not hire him. He says his client believes it was because of his criminal sexual conduct conviction.
But, Trushenski says that Nagel was not told directly that was the reason he was not hired and that he only assumed that was the case.
The victim’s mother submitted a letter in which she says her son struggles with ongoing depression and is reluctant to attend college.
The assault occurred during a party held at a teammate’s home in Winnebago and some of the players reportedly were drinking.
Four players were charged in the incident, but Trushenski says that Nagel was the only one to commit sexual assault in a “hazing ritual.”
Trushenski says Nagel placed his genitalia on the victim’s face after he was beaten unconscious. He says the beating and sexual assault were videotaped and shown to third parties to further humiliate and harm the victim.
“Given the severity of the assault, the court finds defendant may continue to pose some risk to society,” he says.
Nagel was also asking that his case file be sealed, but the judge says doing so would place a burden on the court and public authorities to issue, enforce and monitor an expungement order.
Nagel was convicted of felony aiding and abetting third-degree assault that was reduced to a misdemeanor conviction after completing probation. The fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge was pled and sentenced as a misdemeanor.
Trushenski says it’s not clear if the court can grant an expungement for the criminal sexual conduct conviction.
“It was charged with his felony conviction, which the court cannot expunge,” he says. “If the court did so, it would create a significant burden for the court and public authorities.”