$500,000 bail for officer charged with sex charges | News, Sports, Jobs

WASECA – A 42-year-old New Ulm Police Department investigator, arrested Monday night by authorities from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, appeared in a county jail videolink bail hearing on Wednesday of Waseca.

Eric A. Gramentz, 826 S. Payne St., has been charged with felony first degree criminal sexual conduct – victim under 16, multiple acts over time and felony second degree criminal sexual conduct – Significant relationship under 16, multiple acts over time, Wednesday in Brown County District Court.

Gramentz’s unconditional bond was set at $500,000; $300,000 with conditions or $40,000 cash Wednesday. The conditions include no contact with the victim(s), no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, and compliance with a domestic no-contact order.

Another court appearance has been set for 2 p.m. on April 11.

Gramentz was housed at Waseca County Jail during the initial investigation to avoid any potential conflict of interest in the investigation. He will then be transferred to the Brown County Jail, according to a press release from Brown County Deputy Chief Jeremy Reed.

Additionally, Reed said the active criminal investigation was being handled by the Brown County Sheriff‘s Office and the Minnesota Criminal Arrest Bureau.

Ulm’s new police commander, Dean Barstad, said Gramentz was on leave with the department.

Brown County District Attorney Charles W. Hanson told the Journal Wednesday that he asked Scott County District Attorney Ron Hocevar to act as special prosecutor in the future, and Hocevar agreed to do it.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Gramentz asked for a public defender. He was represented at the hearing by public defender Greg Handevidt of Mankato.

Handevidt said he doesn’t believe the amount of bail requested by lead Scott County attorney Debra Lund is necessary to ensure public safety.

According to court documents, Brown County Sheriff’s Office investigator Andrew Konechne was called on April 4 for a criminal sexual conduct report involving Gramentz and someone involved in a significant relationship with him.

On April 3, the individual disclosed to another trusted adult that Gramentz had touched him approximately four years ago, who was 11 or 12 years old, at a residence in New Ulm. The adult then confronted Gramentz and told him the incident should be reported.

After being confronted, Gramentz agreed to surrender to law enforcement.

Konechne learned from the adult that the allegations are that Gramentz touched the individual’s genitals.

Gramentz admitted that when the individual was complaining of stomach issues, he admitted to mentioning masturbation as a way to deal with stomach pain and touched the person’s genital area while explaining masturbation.

On April 5, 2022, Konechne and BCA Special Agent Sam McGinnis watched an interview with the individual at the Mankato Child and Family Advocacy Center in which the individual said Gramentz touched the person. “private parts” more than once with clothes.

Additionally, the individual said Gramentz said not to tell anyone about his “education,” therefore the incident was not reported at the time.

During an interview at the Waseca County Jail, Gramentz said the individual asked him to break the individual’s back, he lightly penetrated the person.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed to fbusch@nujournal.com).

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