A Roseau man has been charged in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly inappropriately touched two friends of his daughter. Robert Walter Carmichael, 37, has been charged with a felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two felony charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was arrested on a warrant Thursday, Jan. 28.
The charge stemmed from a report to the Thief River Falls Police Department on Nov. 23, according to the amended complaint. A mom reported that her 15-year-old daughter had been inappropriately touched by a friend’s father. At the time, the girl was sleeping overnight at her friend’s Thief River Falls home. The following day, the girl and her mom met with the juvenile investigator. She allegedly said that, while she was lying on the floor, Carmichael would move her hand onto his body in order to masturbate and remove his hand to see if she would continue. He would also try to force her to perform oral sex. If she didn’t comply, he would attempt to have sex with her.
Carmichael also inappropriately touched her. The incident happened in the winter about a year earlier. The girl was unable to provide a time frame. She said, “this behavior happened multiple times.” It didn’t matter if her friend or the girl’s sister were lying on the floor, too. The girl said she told her friend after it happened the first time. She said the friend witnessed the incident.
The girl said she had received inappropriate messages from Carmichael. The majority of the messages were sent using Facebook Messenger while some were sent via Snapchat. Her mom gave police permission to complete a forensic analysis of the girl’s phone. A sergeant later found a Facebook conversation between Carmichael and the girl. However, he found no Snapchat conversations.
The girl also allegedly said that Carmichael inappropriately touched her sister, who is now 10. Their mom said the younger girl reported being forced to touch something “weird.”
After receiving the report, the juvenile investigator spoke with the detective sergeant at the East Grand Forks Police Department. That department had received a similar complaint in 2015. The juvenile investigator learned there were a number of similarities between the cases and a warrant had been issued for Carmichael’s arrest in that Polk County criminal sexual conduct case involving a different alleged victim.
For this case, on Dec. 1, a forensic interview was conducted with the sister at the Family Advocacy Center in Bemidji. The girl allegedly said Carmichael inappropriately touched her over her clothing with his big toe. At the time, the girl was sleeping between her sister and her sister’s friend on the floor. The girl, who was then 9, attempted to move her body away from him. She was unable to do so. The girl said this happened more than once.
She also said she awoke to him placing her hand on his body, where she touched something soft.
On Dec. 4, the Roseau County Human Services Department, at the request of the Roseau Police Department, interviewed Carmichael’s daughter. She said a friend had reported to her that Carmichael was inappropriately touching the friend and having her touch him in 2015. It was unclear if the friend was the same friend who was bringing this incident to light. The daughter was unsure if it had actually happened.
In 2018, the alleged victim, in this case, told the daughter that Carmichael had been engaging in the above activities with her. The daughter said Carmichael wouldn’t let her and her friend sleep in the girl’s bedroom when the friend stayed overnight. They were only allowed to sleep on the living room floor and Carmichael would sleep on the couch.
There were occasions where she would awake to find him sleeping next to her friend on the floor. A fort of blankets and pillows was around them. The girl also reported that Carmichael would occasionally wake her up in the middle of the night while the friend was staying overnight. She was told to go upstairs to her room while her friend continued to sleep downstairs.
She said she didn’t see any inappropriate contact between the two of them. She said her friend told her that Carmichael was allegedly sexually touching her in summer 2019 and she didn’t like it. She believed her friend and suggested that the girl shouldn’t stay overnight anymore.
Carmichael later asked why the girl wasn’t staying overnight anymore. His daughter said her friend wouldn’t be coming to their home anymore.