New Details Released In Bjerknes Case
New details have emerged a week before the federal sentencing date of a former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal who pleaded guilty in state court to four felonies for posing as a teenage boy online while having sexual conversations with students.
In documents released by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Munoz-Kaphing, Brandon Bjerknes, 35, admitted that he regularly exchanged nude and sexually explicit photographs and text messages with a teacher that he worked with at Bemidji Middle School and an 18-year-old woman who babysat his children.
Bjerknes created fake social media profiles to contact at least 55 known minor victims over the course of multiple years. He also used, persuaded, enticed and coerced six known minor victims to produce child pornography.
Bjerknes used both his personal and Bemidji School District issued iPhones to create a permanent record of sexually explicit Snapchat messages from three known minor victims while he was serving as assistant principal at Bemidji Middle School.
Bjerknes pleaded guilty to federal charges on September 28th. He will be sentenced on February 6th in St. Paul on one count of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual conduct and one count of production of child pornography.
Court documents shows Gregory G. Brooker, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, and Angela M. Munoz-Kaphing, Assistant United States Attorney, are requesting a 30 year sentence for Bjerknes followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.
Peter B. Wold, the attorney representing Bjerknes, is requesting a 15-year sentence in his Sentencing Positioning Statement.
Brooker and Munoz-Kaphing argue in their Sentencing Positioning Statement that Bjerknes used his role as Assistant Principal to fuel his predatory behavior and targeted students he knew were vulnerable because of information he obtained as Assistant Principal. They provided the court numerous graphic conversations between Bjerknes and the juveniles as evidence.
Brooker and Munoz-Kaphing state: “Bjerknes is a danger to recidivate. The evidence shows that Bjerknes is practiced at deceiving others, including those closest to him. Bjerknes was gainfully employed, married and living with his wife and two small children during the entire period of time when he was preying on his students and other minors in his community and throughout Minnesota.”
Wold says Bjerknes’s convictions provide substantial deterrence that he will never reoffend because he will have to register as a sex offender and that the humiliation Bjerknes has experienced and will continue to experience is an added deterrence.
Wold states: “He (Bjerknes) is not a recidivist offender. He had no physical contact with any of the victims. He immediately accepted responsibility for his actions when he was arrested. He spared the victims further harm that a trial can cause by entering into plea agreement that includes a sentencing guideline calculation of a life sentence. Since his plea he participates in counseling and is working hard to understand why he did what he did.”