Crosby mayoral candidate James Jesse Hunter was found not guilty Friday on both counts of fifth-degree sexual assault-non-consensual sex contact and disorderly conduct by a jury of his peers in Crow Wing District Court.
Hunter, 63, who has a Deerwood address according to court records, was charged March 22 with two charges that stemmed from a May 26, 2011, incident where Hunter allegedly touched the breasts of a female cook and had been making inappropriate sexual comments to a waitress at the Crosby Cafe in Crosby.
Hunter pleaded not guilty to the charges on March 30.
Ed Shaw, Hunter’s attorney said Friday the jury heard all the evidence and returned a not guilty verdict. He said last week’s news story based on the criminal complaint was one-sided and made Hunter look very bad.
“It was a just verdict,” Shaw said. “I feel strongly it was a false accusation.
“This could be a lesson for everybody... there are often multiple sides of the story.”
Shaw said the evidence presented against Hunter was not at all convincing.
The prosecuting attorney was Assistant County Attorney Rockwell Wells.
Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan said the jury had spoken.
“We believed there was a case to try and we tried it,” he said.
Hunter is one of three candidates vying for the Crosby mayoral two-year seat. The other two candidates are Joanna Lattery and Dale Sova.
This story contained information compiled by Associate Editor Mike O’Rourke.