Man says rights violated in Minn. abduction case

Aug 3, 2012, 3:54 AM

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A man who has been publicly identified as a person of interest in a Minnesota boy’s 1989 abduction told The Associated Press on Thursday that he sent a letter to 14 state officials and agencies, complaining about how he has been treated by law enforcement.

In the letter obtained by the AP, Dan Rassier wrote that law officers violated his civil rights and his family’s rights and “abused the privileges of their power” in relation to the Jacob Wetterling case. Rassier also criticized the way the investigation has been handled over the years.

This is the first time Rassier, an elementary school music teacher, has put his complaints in writing. When asked why he did so after all this time, he said: “They are just going to keep me kind of on this lifeline dangling there forever, and I want that to stop.”

Jacob was 11 when he was abducted Oct. 22, 1989, by a masked gunman at the end of Rassier’s driveway in St. Joseph, about 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis. He hasn’t been seen since. Authorities have examined tens of thousands of leads, but there have been no arrests in the case that drew national attention and led to changes in sex offender registration laws.

Rassier, now 56, was home alone at the time. He has been questioned multiple times, but his name didn’t come out publicly until 2010, when authorities searched his family farm over two days. Forensic tests on items taken from that search have yielded no evidence linking them to the crime, but investigators are still testing some items, or waiting for technology to advance so additional testing can be done.

Rassier, who says he is innocent, has not been cleared.

“Is it considered legal for law enforcement to give the public the perception I am guilty of something when I’m not?” Rassier wrote, adding: “To destroy our family’s name the way they did because they had a “Hunch!” is in itself, a serious crime. Nothing can make it right now. The damage has been done. But to leave the whole thing open to speculation and open to the public’s imagination is just wrong!”

In his letter, Rassier also complained that authorities have not returned his property or listened to details he is offering about what he witnessed the night Jacob was taken.

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner is among a handful of people named in the letter. He said Thursday he hadn’t seen it, but couldn’t comment regardless because the investigation into the boy’s abduction is still active.

Sanner said authorities have put a tremendous amount of resources into solving the case, and added: “I won’t be happy until we resolve the case. I’m not satisfied until that happens.”

Authorities have not elaborated on what prompted them to search Rassier’s family farm two years ago, saying only that they had probable cause.

Rassier said he mailed the letter on Wednesday to 14 different agencies or state officials, including the Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, the Board on Judicial Standards, as well as the Stearns County administrator and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Gov. Mark Dayton.

The AP reached out to all 14 people to whom Rassier sent the letter. As of Thursday, no one confirmed that the letter had been received.

Rassier said if nothing else comes of the complaints he’s lodging, at least he spoke out about what he perceived to be problems with the investigation.

“Like any unsolved crime, Jacob Wetterling and his family along with the public deserve nothing less than the truth,” he wrote.

Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling, when reached by the AP on Thursday, said the family was out of town and hadn’t seen Rassier’s letter. She declined comment.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Reports: 1 dead, 17 hurt in crash outside Pennsylvania bar

BERWICK, Pa. (AP) — One person has died and another 17 people were injured after a vehicle struck a crowd gathered at a Pennsylvania bar on Saturday for an event to raise money for victims of a house fire that killed 10 earlier this month, authorities said. WNEP-TV said the crash occurred outside the Intoxicology […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: August 14, McVeigh sentenced to death

Today in History Today is Sunday, Aug. 14, the 226th day of 2022. There are 139 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Aug. 14, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced that Imperial Japan had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II. On this date: In 1848, the Oregon Territory was created. In […]
1 day ago
FILE - People spend time at the park at dusk during a summer heat wave, July 21, 2022, in Hoboken, ...
Associated Press

Hot nights: US in July sets new record for overnight warmth

The continental United States in July set a record for overnight warmth, providing little relief from the day's heat meteorologists said.
1 day ago
FILE - Anne Heche arrives at the 74th annual Directors Guild of America Awards on March 12, 2022, i...
Associated Press

LAPD ends investigation into Anne Heche car crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Department has ended its investigation into Anne Heche’s car accident, when the actor crashed into a Los Angeles home on Aug. 5. Heche, 53, is brain dead and on life support, pending evaluation for organ donation. “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made […]
1 day ago
Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, right, takes pictures with supporters at the sevent...
Associated Press

GOP candidates stress urgency at annual Nevada cookout

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — Standing in front of 1,500 Republicans at a rural ranch backdropped by the Sierra Nevada mountains, Nevada’s Republican governor candidate Joe Lombardo referenced the “elephant in the room” without naming him. The second-place finisher in the gubernatorial primary, Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, has baselessly claimed the mathematical counting was off and […]
1 day ago
This image from video released by Snowbasin Resort shows their web cam capture of a meteor flying o...
Associated Press

Officials: Loud ‘boom’ heard in north Utah likely a meteor

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A loud “boom” heard across areas of northern Utah was likely a meteor, officials said Saturday. Reports of the loud noise circulated at about 8:30 a.m., with people from Orem to southern Idaho posting that they heard the “boom,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted that […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Man says rights violated in Minn. abduction case