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Published May 29, 2013, 06:05 PM

More details emerge about Halstad Mayor’s arrest

Halstad, MN (WDAY TV) - There are new details tonight in connection with the arrest of and charges against the Mayor of Halstad, Minnesota.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Halstad, MN (WDAY TV) - There are new details tonight in connection with the arrest of and charges against the Mayor of Halstad, Minnesota.

In Norman County district court today, 44-year-old Steve Sortland appeared to face felony criminal charges that he raped a woman.

According to authorities, Mayor Sortland and the victim knew each other well. And while the two had a relationship, it is clear from the court complaint, the victim alleges Sortland kept asking for specific sex acts, then forcibly had sex with the victim after she said no repeatedly.

The court complaint reveals what so many victim advocates fear: Someone who alleges rape, fearing no one will believe her, and worse yet, fears for her safety.

According to the court complaint, filed just today, Sortland and the victim met for consensual sex at his home. At some point the mayor asked the victim to have anal sex. She refused but, according to the court complaint, he forced himself on her anyway.

Jeremy Thornton, Norman Co. Sheriff: “Nobody is above the law and we treat everything the same and do what we need to do in the investigation.”

And according to the complaint, the victim said she feared for the safety of her children if she told and the mayor is quoted as saying, he is not sure if he should kill her (the victim) or take off so no one can find him.

The court complaint indicates an emergency room visit did reveal evidence of bleeding and tearing. The victim called it nonconsensual sex. The mayor says it was consensual.

Unclear right now, the mayor's future as leader of Halstad. The city told us this afternoon, it has contacted its attorneys in Crookston before taking any action. We spoke with the Minnesota League of Cities this afternoon.

The organization tells us a felony conviction would mean the removal of a mayor. Until a conviction, Sortland can continue leading the city unless he steps down.

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