Biddlecome, 42, was initially charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct by a person in an authority role, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.That charge was ultimately reduced to sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult after a judge ruled Biddlecome was not a counselor for the victim.The suit, filed on behalf of the victim by the Plymouth, Minn., law firm Kosieradzki Smith, seeks punitive damages against Biddlecome and calls for negligent hiring and retention claims against Meridian Behavioral Health.
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PAUL — A Minnesota behavioral health company that hired a man who has since been convicted of sexual abuse at an East Grand Forks residential treatment center knew he had a history of criminal sexual conduct before putting him in charge, according to a civil suit filed in Ramsey County.
Lenthe has a prior history of sexual contact with male and female victims ranging in age from 1 to 6 and he knew all of his victims, according to authorities.
In March of 2016, he was also convicted of a gross misdemeanor after assaulting a police officer.
Both times, Biddlecome demanded she have sex with him and threatened she would go back to where she came from — she understood him to mean jail — if she did not comply, a court document states.
The woman told investigators Biddlecome assaulted her a third time on Christmas Eve 2014 when he went into her room at Douglas Place and said he had come "for an early Christmas present and that it was her," according to a court document.Inside the vehicle was his ankle bracelet, which had been cut.There were footprints in the snow around the vehicle.Bruce Biddlecome, former director of Douglas Place Treatment Center, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult, a gross misdemeanor, in May 2016 after admitting to engaging in sexual acts with a center resident in 2014. A lawsuit filed in Ramsey County claims that Meridian Behavioral Health, which operates Douglas Place, knew of Biddlecome's criminal history, including a 2012 charge of soliciting a prostitute in St.Paul that was reduced to a misdemeanor loitering with intent to participate in prostitution charge shortly before he was named director of Douglas Place.In Minnesota law, all clients of residential treatment centers are considered vulnerable.