Minnesota prosecutors dropped the charges against a former Renaissance Festival manager accused of raping a freelance photographer — because his accuser couldn’t travel to the hearing amid COVID-19, a report says.
Carr Leon Hagerman, 62, who was charged in June 2018 with two counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually assaulting the woman on the Scott County Fairgrounds in fall 2017, was set to appear for trial Monday, the Star Tribune reported.
But Hagerman’s accuser was unable to travel to Minnesota because of concerns about the coronavirus, prompting the dismissal of the charges, her lawyer told the newspaper.
“These are serious health concerns that involve her family,” lawyer John Klassen said Thursday, adding that prosecutors said they plan to refile the case next year.
“My reaction, representing her, is that Mr. Hagerman is not off the hook and this is not any sort of victory for him.”
Hagerman’s accuser was not allowed by a judge to testify remotely, the newspaper reported.
Hagerman, who has denied the accusations, lured the woman to a storage room, where he got enraged upon noticing she had on a pink ribbon worn by a group of female workers at the festival in support of the #MeToo movement, according to a criminal complaint.
Hagerman tore off the ribbon and slammed the woman’s head against a wall while calling her a “bitch” and “whore” before taking “some sort of pill” and forcing the woman to perform oral on him until she vomited, the complaint states.
“I will do whatever I want with you,” Hagerman told her as he beat and raped the woman, according to the complaint. “You are my piece of meat.”
Hagerman also allegedly threatened to kill the woman and “destroy” her life if she reported the assault. She blacked out during the attack, which she recounted to police more than a month later, the Star Tribune previously reported.
Hagerman, who had managed several hundred entertainers at festival, also performed at the outdoor festival for nearly 40 years as a 17th-century character known as the “Rat Catcher” who taunted visitors.
Hagerman’s lawyer did not return a message seeking comment from the Star Tribune late Thursday.
Festival officials announced in August that this year’s event would be canceled because of COVID-19.
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