Masked assailant

Nicole Vulcan

A man charged with groping a woman at Van Cleve Park pleaded guilty Friday to criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree.
Police arrested Dennis Tellander, 54, of Roseville on Dec. 22 after a woman identified him as being the masked man who forcibly fondled her between the legs at the 15th Avenue Southeast park.
When police searched Tellander’s vehicle, they found another mask, a pair of binoculars, a bag containing women’s underwear and a condom.
As part of his plea bargain, Tellander must confess to police all other crimes he has committed. If none of these are worse than fourth degree criminal sexual conduct, he will receive a 60-month prison sentence.
Tellander will then be on probation for 10 years. The maximum penalty for crimes of this nature is 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.
Sgt. Bernard Martinson of the Minneapolis police sex crimes unit said in January he believes that Tellander is a repeat offender. He said that Tellander might be responsible for the escalation of recent assaults made by a masked man in the area around the park and at the intersection of Interstate 35W and Fifth Street Southeast.
“He is going to have to work with us in closing up all the other assaults at the University,” Martinson said.
Martinson said that he and Tellander will meet later in the week to discuss the matter.
Hennepin County prosecutor Lee Barry said in court Friday that he will withdraw his agreement of the terms if Tellander admits to any charges more serious than fourth degree sexual conduct.
“This kind of criminal sexual conduct has been tormenting the women in our neighborhood,” said Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County attorney, who lives near the University. “With Mr. Tellander pleading guilty … and potentially pleading guilty to other sexual acts, we will make the University area a safer place to live.”
Neither Tellander nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
Barry requested that Tellander also pay restitution for counseling expenses the victim accumulated because of the incident, which Hennepin County District Court Judge Isabel Gomez expressed support for Friday.
A sentencing hearing is set for April 6 before Judge Gomez, after Tellander’s statements to Martinson.