A police officer from Mandan, North Dakota, who was fired in September after he allegedly admitted to having sexual contact with a teen girl, now wants that admission suppressed.
Dustin Pekas, 36, used to be the lead police officer of the Beulah police force. But now he’s been charged with sexual assault, a felony. He’s awaiting a trial on the charges in 2018. On Monday, the former officer testified in court during a motion hearing, asking for the suppression of statements he made to police in September, the Grand Forks Herald reports.
Pekas’ attorney Lloyd Suhr and special prosecutor Ladd Erickson debated whether or not Pekas was officially in custody during a September interview at the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. It was during that interview that Pekas allegedly confessed to having sexual relations with the teenager.
According to court documents, Pekas confessed that he had sexual contact with the girl between five and 10 times.
BCI Special Agent Lindsay Wold testified on Monday that Pekas was uniformed and on duty during the interview. She said that Pekas was told he didn’t have to speak with the agents. She said that Pekas said he understood his rights. But Pekas testified that he did feel like he had no other choice but to talk to the agents.
"I felt if I didn't show cooperation, I could have been fired from my job," he said. "I just felt if I didn't cooperate, I would have been released of my duties as a law enforcement officer.”
Pekas was fired anyway. He was also arrested after the interview in question.
Suhr argued that his client received an inadequate Miranda warning.
A decision will be made by a judge later this week.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, Pekas could face up to five years behind bars for the charges against him.
[Photo: Morton County Sheriff’s Department]