Rick Duncan, the ex-Chisago County sheriff previously convicted of harassing and stalking an employee, is being sued by another woman over allegations that he used nearly identical means to coerce her into sex around the same time.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Minnesota on Thursday, the woman said she was suing Duncan and Chisago County "for the grave constitutional harm" she suffered when the former sheriff "used his final policymaking authority to fabricate evidence so he could sexually assault and otherwise victimize her."
Although the woman is named in the lawsuit and her relationship to Duncan is described, the Star Tribune does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault without their consent.
Prosecutors last year also charged Duncan in a new case with five counts of criminal sexual conduct over allegations dating back to 2017 in connection with actions listed in the most recent lawsuit, according to KSTP-TV.
According to the lawsuit, Duncan fabricated evidence to make it appear as though the two were being blackmailed into carrying out an extramarital affair together. He told the woman that her family, including two young children, would be harmed if they didn't comply.
This allegedly included sex acts performed on camera and while on a trip together to a law enforcement conference in 2017. Duncan allegedly told the woman that he would keep her safe, according to the new complaint, repeatedly making statements such as "I'm the Sheriff. I will protect you," and "I will keep you safe. I'm the Sheriff."
An attorney for Duncan said Friday that he had not seen the complaint and declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, she "complied with all of these demands, causing her unthinkable distress, humiliation, and shame. At the same time, she was terrified about the safety of her family while she was gone."
On another occasion, the lawsuit said, the woman complied by having sexual intercourse but refused a demand for an additional sex act.
"She chose to accept the possibility of death instead," attorney Andrew Noel wrote in the civil complaint filed on behalf of the woman.
Duncan served as Chisago County sheriff from his 2010 election until resigning in 2018. Before that, he spent more than 20 years with the Minneapolis Police Department.
Duncan's abrupt resignation came a day after he admitted to investigators that he wrote threatening letters under the name "Control Freak" ordering a female employee to accompany him to training in Bemidji and stay overnight at a hotel together. Those letters also made threats to their families if they did not follow through with the demands.
The woman ultimately refused to go with Duncan and months later reported the ordeal to a supervisor, touching off an initial investigation into the matter.
A federal jury last year awarded more than $1.1 million to that woman, who ultimately sued Duncan when the full story came to light. She received $565,000 for past and future mental anguish and another $550,000 in punitive damages against Duncan.
Duncan was also charged criminally and, in 2020, sentenced to four years of probation. At his sentencing, he said that "hero syndrome" and professional trauma led him to commit the scheme.