Aaron Biber, the former Super Lawyer, and Minnesota Bar Association President-elect has been incarcerated following findings by Hennepin County District Court Judge Lloyd Zimmerman that aggravating factors applied to his prolonged "grooming" and rape of a neighbor boy. What follows is Rochelle Olson's StarTribune.com report:
"Former [Minneapolis] lawyer and state Bar Association treasurer Aaron Biber walked out of a Hennepin County District courtroom with hands cuffed tightly behind his back Thursday after a judge determined he had raped a child he knew with particular cruelty last fall.
'I have sat through every moment of this horrific trial filled with graphic, searing evidence that is mind boggling to any adult much less a child,' Judge Lloyd Zimmerman said before he revoked bail for Biber, whose sentencing is scheduled for October. Since Tuesday, Zimmerman had heard testimony and arguments to determine whether 'aggravating factors' existed in Biber's crime.
Biber pleaded guilty last week to first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a boy over whom he was in a position of authority. Now that the judge has determined his crime to be particularly egregious, Biber can be can sentenced to more than the minimal 14 years. Biber's lawyers have said they will ask for probation for the 47-year-old who until his arrest in December was a civil lawyer at the respected Minneapolis firm Gray Plant Mooty. At the hearing, prosecutors and defense lawyers talked about some 900 text messages between Biber and the boy.
South Lake Minnetonka Police Detective Stephen Neururer testified about the investigation. The boy's recorded 60-minute interview with a social worker was played, as was a police-monitored call between him and Biber. An agreement on facts by both sides was reached so the 15-year-old boy didn't have to testify. He didn't attend the hearing. The victim's parents and supporters wept quietly as Zimmerman delivered his preliminary findings on the aggravated factors. He is expected to issue a formal written order on Aug. 12.
The judge said he had 'meticulously and painfully reviewed every text message' between Biber and the boy, who was a close friend to Biber's younger son.Zimmerman pointedly detailed his disgust with the defense's repeated argument that the boy was not just a willing participant in sex with Biber, but the dominant figure in their 'loving' and 'homosexual relationship.'
Assistant County Attorney Judy Johnston said in her closing argument that gay men don't choose children as partners.
Zimmerman said of the defense argument, 'The idea behind that is one that I find repulsive. I find it repulsive as a matter of fact and as a matter of law.'
The judge said that from the time Biber met the boy at age 11, he began the manipulating and planning that led to the rape. 'As a judge, I've heard murder cases. I've heard rape cases, I've heard every conceivable horrible thing that humans can do to one another,' Zimmerman said, then added that Biber's push for sex after the boy's hospitalization for depression was among the most cruel.
The judge determined that prosecutors had proven beyond a reasonable doubt four aggravating factors: Biber engaged in multiple forms of sexual penetration, the boy was 'drunk out of his mind' after Biber gave him vodka and Schnapps, Biber inflicted cruelty because he used no lubrication or protection during sex and he spent the previous 14 months escalating his sexual pressure on the child. The judge, who speaks calmly even when outraged or angered, held up DVDs admitted as evidence. 'What kind of adult provides to a child 'Well Hung Amateurs' and 'Sin City' ... so they can masturbate together?' he asked.
The boy's depression, which culminated in his hospitalization last December, was the result of Biber's actions and betrayal of trust, the judge said. The boy reported the molestation to a social worker, who then reported it to law enforcement, culminating in Biber's arrest at the Eden Prairie Mall on Dec. 11. The lawyer thought he was meeting the boy to give him oral sex, according to a recorded phone conversation played in court.
Biber's ex-wife and children were not in the courtroom. The victim's mother managed a slight smile when Biber was taken away to jail."