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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • District Court: Men sentenced for sex-related crimes

  • Crookston man gets six years, EGF man 15 years.


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  • Two men were sentenced in Polk County District Court Monday for sex-related crimes.
        
    In the first, Paulino Ruiz Bernal, 41, East Grand Forks, received a 15-year prison sentence for continuous sexual abuse of a girl. He pleaded guilty in January to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. One other first-degree and two third-degree charges against him were dismissed.
        
    Bernal is eligible for conditional release after 10 years. He must also pay fines and fees totaling $1,158, including $1,023 in restitution. Bernal is required to register as a predatory offender. The court record states the sentence was a durational departure from guidelines.
        
    According to the criminal complaint, Bernal began abusing the victim in 2001 when she was 8 years old, which involved forcing her into various sexual activities with him. He continued to do so until August 2010 when the girl, now 17, reported the abuse to the East Grand Forks Police Department.
        
    Bernal's criminal history includes convictions for terroristic threats and domestic assault dating back to 1994.
        
    In the second case, John Scott Zavoral, 48, Crookston, was sentenced to six years in prison for taking a sexually explicit photo of a toddler. He was found guilty in a court trial by Judge Michael Kraker of using a minor in a sexual performance/pornographic work and possessing pornographic work. He must also pay $846 in fines and fees, including $711 restitution.
        
    The complaint says Zavoral used his cell phone to snap a photo of a 2-year-old girl's vagina.
        
    Zavoral's crimina history includes a 1989 conviction of using a minor in a sexual performance and a 1992 conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, both in Kandiyohi County.
     
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