A Thief River Falls man has been charged in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly forced a teenage boy to drink alcohol and talked about having sex with the boy.
Eric Allen Hoffmann, 38, Thief River Falls, had been ordered to continue registering as a predatory offender as part of a March 2021 sentencing order as part of a separate, unrelated case, according to online court records.
Hoffmann has been charged with gross misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a child or status as a petty offender in this case.
He was arrested.
The charge stemmed from a report from dispatch Saturday, Aug. 6 at about 11:06 p.m. According to the complaint, dispatch notified law enforcement that a caller reported someone was trying to make her and a friend drink and smoke a laced product from his garden. She reported her friend was with the individual at the bird viewing site located at the Thief River Falls wastewater treatment ponds.
Police officers proceeded to the bird viewing site after receiving permission from the sheriff’s office.
About two hours after law enforcement encountered the 17-year-old boy and Hoffmann, the boy reported that he believed Hoffmann had drugged him.
At the time, the boy was seeking medical care at the Sanford Medical Center Emergency Room. His mom gave her permission, allowing him to sign a form that would enable law enforcement to obtain the results.
It was unclear if law enforcement had obtained the results prior to the complaint being written.
Two hours earlier, police observed Hoffmann and the boy at the bird viewing site. The boy said he was waiting for his mom to pick him up because Hoffmann had consumed a few beers. Police asked the boy if he had consumed any alcohol, leading Hoffmann to ask if the boy had done so.
He later said he didn’t know how much the boy drank and he admitted that he believed the boy was 17. Police asked Hoffmann whether he is allowed to spend time with anyone under the age of 18. He told the officer that he didn’t have any restrictions.
The boy and Hoffmann knew each other through a mutual friend. The boy said he posted a snap on his snap story, asking if anyone wanted to hang out. Hoffmann responded, and they parked underneath the Greenwood Street bridge. Hoffmann allegedly forced the boy to consume alcohol underneath the bridge and later at the bird viewing site.
The boy said he was forced to continue drinking alcohol by Hoffmann, who told the boy he was dangerous and told him “other things.” Hoffmann also said they were going to have sex and made other sexual references, including asking if the boy was sexually attracted to boys.
The boy tried to contact someone else to give him a ride, but Hoffmann allegedly told him to hang up the phone or he would leave the boy at the bird viewing site by himself. He also said the boy to continue drinking or he would leave him there. The boy said Hoffmann consumed bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and had thrown bottles out of the pickup truck while they were driving.
A 16-year-old girl told police that a case of Busch Light was located in the center console of the pickup truck. She said Hoffmann had the boy grab alcohol from the case. After Hoffmann said he didn’t know the minors were drinking alcohol, an officer told him that a witness knew the location of the alcohol.
It was the same area that Hoffmann had earlier pointed out to the officer as the location of a half case of Busch Light.
Hoffmann then stopped answering questions and asked what this meant for him. The girl told police that she tried Hoffmann’s vape. Afterward, Hoffmann allegedly told her that he had mixed it with his homegrown THC.
Besides the beer in the center console, police confiscated a partially full beer located in the truck box.
Four empty Busch Light cans were also found in the grass in front of the vehicle.