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Jury finds former Boy Scout guilty of sex assault

By John Lundy and Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune, Minn. –

March 31–A St. Louis County jury found 77-year-old Edwin C. Culbert guilty of first and second degree sexual assault following about 5 1/2 hours of deliberations.

A now 34-year-old man accused the former Boy Scout volunteer of sexually assaulting him at least 20 times between 1990 and 1994.

The victim secretly taped two phone conversations he had with Culbert in May 2010 in an attempt to get Culbert to admit to sex acts between them.

During their closing arguments Friday afternoon, the opposing attorneys offered dramatically different ideas about the credibility of charges against Culbert.
St. Louis County prosecutor Gary Bjorklund said Culbert’s failure to deny the charges during what he thought were confidential phone calls with his alleged victim pointed to Culbert’s guilt.

“You don’t get any strong denials; you get vague references,” Bjorklund told the 12 jurors and two alternates. “This is not a person who has wrongfully been accused.”

The conversations were damning, Bjorklund said.

“He said, ‘I feel terrible about it,’ ” Bjorklund said, quoting Culbert’s words to the jury. “If nothing happened, why did he feel terrible about it?”

Culbert was charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct crimes stemming from alleged sexual assault of a Boy Scout who occasionally stayed in his home between 1990 and 1994. A fifth count was dismissed on Friday morning.

The conversations were damning, Bjorklund said.

“He said, ‘I feel terrible about it,’ ” Bjorklund said, quoting Culbert’s words to the jury. “If nothing happened, why did he feel terrible about it?”

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