A Fisher man has been sentenced in Polk County District Court to serve 12 years in prison for two counts of criminal sexual conduct – first and second degree – for engaging in sex acts with minors on multiple occasions in 2010.
Robert Wade Voiss, 47, offered an Alford plea (acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict without admitting guilt) to the charges in exchange for dismissing three other counts of first-degree and one second-degree criminal sex. He received credit for time served, 514 days, at Northwest Regional Corrections Center in connection with the case and is subject to conditional release after confinement of 10 years. He is required to register as a predatory offender for the length of supervision and must undergo a psychological-sexual evaluation, if a new one is deemed necessary.
According to court records, in April 2011, the mother of two boys, then 12 and 11, reported to the Crookston Police Department that they had admitted being sexually assaulted by Voiss. The Polk County Sheriff's Office investigated the matter, and the boys were interviewed. They provided details alleging that Voiss had forced them to watch pornography and act out what they saw, sometimes on each other, sometimes on him. Both stated that there were approximately 10 sexual encounters.
When interviewed, Voiss admitted to some sexual activity taking place on three occasions, but only when he was sleeping and upon awaking, he said he immediately put a stop to it. He said the three made a pact not to tell anyone, though, so they would not get in any trouble.
Voiss faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 on each count. As per the plea agreement, County Attorney Greg Widseth agreed to cap the state's sentence request at 144 months, on the lower end of the sentencing guideline range of 144-201 months, with a presumptive sentence of 168 months. His attorney, Joel Arnason, argued that the sentence should be stayed rather than executed, and that Voiss instead be placed on supervised probation for the maximum amount of time for several reasons, among them:
• The defendant has absolutely no criminal history, not even a minor traffic ticket.
• The psycho-sexual risk assessment came back favorable, showing Voiss to be at low risk for sexual reoffending and low violence risk, 98 percent probability of being able to remain law abiding and no chemical dependency issues. The recommendations for treatment can be accomplished outside of a confined setting, in individual therapy that is not typically available when confined. Arnason said treatment would be more likely to be successful if Voiss were to be released from custody and attend individual therapy sessions and have no contact with minors without adult supervision.
• Voiss appears to be amenable to probation and the nearly one and a half years he's already spent incarcerated should have been adequate punishment for the alleged crime.
Page 2 of 2 - Judge Donald Aandal chose to impose the sentence recommended by Widseth.