Sex offender pleads guilty, admits to more than 40 assaults around U

by Nicole Vulcan

The masked man who groped a woman in Van Cleve Park last December has pleaded guilty to four more counts and confessed to at least 40 other incidents of sexual assault.
In a hearing held Tuesday morning in Hennepin County District Court, Dennis Tellander, 54, admitted to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree and one count of attempted sexual conduct in the fourth degree. The charges are on top of another count of the same crime, to which Tellander pleaded guilty Feb. 29.
Tellander was arrested Dec. 22 after being identified by a victim who said he fondled her between the legs as she walked through Van Cleve Park.
Though Tellander will serve time for five offenses, he told Sgt. Bernard Martinson of the Minneapolis sex crimes unit he is responsible for more than 40 other sexual assaults. Martinson said all of the incidents occurred in neighborhoods surrounding the University.
“I am satisfied that this person was responsible for many of the molestings and exposings around the Southeast neighborhood,” Martinson said. “I believe we will now see a decrease in the sexual assaults around the 2nd Precinct.”
Tellander, who resides in Roseville, faces 60 months in prison for crimes police know he committed beginning as early as February 1995, when he sexually assaulted a woman on a 5th Street Southeast footbridge near the University. A sentencing hearing has been set for May 19.
Though Hennepin County prosecutors Lee Barry said it’s uncommon practice when dealing with sexual offenders, Hennepin County District Court Judge Isabel Gomez released Tellander on bail until his sentencing. Barry said Gomez made that decision because Tellander has cooperated fully with police and is seeing a psychologist.
Neither Tellander nor his attorney, Paul Ahern, could be reached for comment.
Martinson said the footbridge, which crosses Interstate 35W and links Dinkytown and the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, was one of the primary sites Tellander used to commit his crimes. It was the site for three of the four assaults Tellander admitted to committing in meetings with Martinson.