A Ham Lake man accused of terrorizing women in a string of sex crimes in the Twin Cities metro area faces criminal charges in three new cases.
Jory D. Wiebrand, 34, is a suspect in 10 sexual assaults, assaults, prowling and break-ins since 2013 in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood of Minneapolis and in Anoka County. Prosecutors first charged him last month in two cases from last summer when he allegedly broke in through windows and assaulted women in their homes.
Wiebrand now faces new criminal charges in three additional cases, including the rape of Brooke Morath who was featured in the Star Tribune’s 2018 “Denied Justice” investigation.
On Tuesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged Wiebrand with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Morath’s rape in 2015. Wiebrand allegedly attacked Morath at night as she brushed snow off her car in the Dinkytown neighborhood, blinding her with pepper spray.
Morath’s frustration with how Minneapolis police handled the investigation led the newspaper’s series, which documented systemic failures in the criminal justice system in handling sexual assault cases, from investigation to prosecution.
Wiebrand was also charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of first-degree burglary in an August 2018 rape and robbery in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. The victim was “blitz attacked” from behind while she smoked a cigarette on her back patio after returning home late one night, according to charging documents. Wiebrand allegedly choked her and raped her in her home, using pepper spray at one point and running off with her purse.
Morath and the second woman both underwent sexual assault exams and DNA evidence was found.
In the third new case, Wiebrand was charged with harassment and invasion of privacy from a peeping case on Jan. 3 near the University of Minnesota.
Police were unable to find the reported prowler that night. Later, a U student and her parents provided university police with surveillance footage allegedly documenting Wiebrand prowling around peering into townhouse windows that night with a flashlight, according to charging documents. The footage provided a clear shot of Wiebrand’s face.
“The nature of the assaults indicate that Defendant would monitor the victims before assaulting them,” the charging documents said. “The victims were pursued by Defendant before the attack as they left or returned to their home.”
Wiebrand eluded police for years. Minneapolis police said that he emerged as a target in March, but they have not disclosed how they identified him.
He was arrested April 17 on last summer’s burglaries and attacks, and remains in Hennepin County jail with bail amounts ranging from $30,000 to $2 million for each of the five cases against him.
More criminal charges against Wiebrand are expected. His first court appearance is set for Wednesday.
Morath has said she had given up hope on her case until Minneapolis police informed her of Wiebrand’s arrest.
In an e-mail, Morath said the charges do not feel like a resolution, “but on many levels, and hopefully for many victims, it does feel like the beginning of restoration.”
“Even just seeing a real name attached to the criminal complaint feels like a great burden has lifted,” Morath said. “Someone is FINALLY going to be held accountable for the vile acts of sexual violence committed against me and too many other victims. That person is Jory Daniel Wiebrand, and the burdens are now his to bear.”