WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 28, 2013, 04:13 PM

Halstad mayor is facing steep allegations for criminal sexual conduct

HALSTAD, Minn. – The city’s mayor here is in jail after being arrested Monday on allegations of criminal sexual conduct, terroristic and domestic abuse.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- The Mayor of Halstad is facing serious accusations. Tonight, Steve Sortland is in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center on charges of criminal sexual conduct and terrorist threats.

3rd Street East is where the Mayor, Steve Sortland was arrested yesterday, during a traffic stop. Just blocks from his home, where neighbors say they're shocked.

Unidentified neighbor: "That's kind of shocking."

Word travels fast.

Unidentified neighbor: "Probably should not be mayor."

But after a political figure is arrested for possible sexual assault, not too many people are looking to talk.

Including a next-door neighbor who didn't want to be identified.

Unidentified neighbor: "I came home late last night and I just noticed that the cops were over there. So, I figured there was some kind of problem."

This problem first came to attention on May 23rd when a victim accused Sortland of sexual assault.

The Norman County Sheriff's Department says, no matter who's involved it doesn't take these situations lightly.

Sheriff Jeremy Thornton- Norman County: "We treat an investigation of an elected official the same as any citizen on the street. Nothing surprises us in law enforcement. We just do the investigation and do what needs to be done."

We tried contacting the Sortland family to get their opinion. But no one answered.

The city also declined to answer our questions.

"I'm Andrea with WDAY." Rob Gotteberg/City of Halstad: "I have no comment about today."

But did respond to one.

"When a mayor is accused of something like this, what's kind of the next step for the city?" Rob Gotteberg- City of Halstad: "We are contacting our attorney to see what we should do."

Off camera, we asked multiple people around town what they thought. Many said, it's not in Sortland's nature.

Tomorrow the mayor will appear in Norman County Court for his first appearance.