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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Child Predator by Forest Lake Public School Convicted on Stiffer Charges, Sentence Still Weak

Nicholas Scott Nehring of Forest Lake looks like an average clean cut guy. His last known address is a nice home at 21122 Clydesdale Curve S. Forest Lake, MN 55025, a stone's throw from the Forest Lake Public schools. He doesn't appear to be the image of a sex offender which in many of our minds is a disgusting unkempt middle age man. The scary fact is Nick is a convicted sex offender it appears. Even more disturbing is the fact most of the child predators in Washington County look like average looking people and there's hundreds of them in the County. According to a 2012 article there were 280 sex offenders in the County.

See other articles warning you of released sex offenders in our area:
We covered Nick Nehring in February 2017 when he was charged with only Sexual Communication with a minor 609.352.2a(3). A charge so weak he wouldn't have served any jail time or had to register as a sex offender. We added him to the list of public data at, a list of dozens of charged and convicted sex offenders in the County. 

When the 2017 legislative session was ending in May and we saw the crime he was charged with and the sentencing guidelines for the crime were not going to change we covered Nehring again as one of the 10 examples in: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update. We stated his charges were weak and the law was even more weak for punishing Sexual Communication with a minor. 

Perhaps something clicked in the minds of the Washington County Prosecutors because when details of Nehring's conviction came out this month we found the charges had changed to Criminal Sex Conduct-3rd Degree-Victim 13-15 Actor >24m older Statute 609.344.1(b). The facts of the case didn't change. The Criminal Complaint describes the parents of a 13 year old child found sexual communication with Nick Nehring on the child's phone. Forest Lake police investigated and found child porn of the victim and evidence of efforts online to find other child victims through dating sites. When police interviewed him under Miranda rights “He admitted that he communicated electronically with a female he knew was thirteen years old.”

So what changed the minds of the Washington County Prosecutors to up the charges? The county did not respond to question; but it's most likely due to concerned citizens speaking up and saying enough is enough. According to Kare11's article on how the sex offender bills were shut down last session, the County Attorneys Association in MN is one of the biggest opponents. The organization opposed stiffer sex offender laws stating the weak laws and charges "are valuable tools." Leading one to easily conclude County Attorneys generally like weak sex offender laws because it is easier to get a plea deal and avoid costly trial. 

One can not completely fault County Prosecutors for making plea deals to avoid a trial that could result in a not-guilty finding. The County board gives them a small budget with the task they are expected to carry out prosecuting several thousand cases from petty theft to murder. The State also doesn't do the County Attorney's office any help by issuing more responsibilities on their office. We explain in more detail of this dilemma in this article: 
Watchdog Review of Each of the Fifty States Sex Offender Laws Finds Minnesota Ranked the Most Unsafe.

Progress is slow to improve MN sex offender laws. It's good to see some good news that Nick Nehring was convicted of his updated charge of 3rd degree Criminal sexual conduct. It appears he will have 15 years of probation with a conditional 180 days in Jail if he violates probation. He will have to register as a sex offender for the current massively weak maximum of 10 years. Please contact our County legislators below to have them fix these laws. Here are our suggestions based on evidence from other states:  bill ideas for legislators

We encourage you to contact your legislators to fix the law; but most important is providing help to the local victims. Many groups are out there doing great work across the State. At WCW our focus is local, sharing Washington County related stories to emphasize the reality that sex crime is too common here. But our work doesn't help the shattered victims. So we highly recommend helping local victims through a local group called EmpowerSurvivors. They are a peer led 501(c3) non-profit group for those affected by sexual abuse. One of the many ways they help is by holding free weekly meetings in Stillwater as a safe place. They also host free and private online support on their website and blog. The founder, Elizabeth Sullivan, is a survivor of child sexual abuse and has devoted her life to helping victims here in the Washington County area. Every cent donated goes to their mission of "survivors helping survivors." Their new location in downtown Stillwater could use office supplies such as a printer, pens, paper and more.  Of course any donation amount helps. You can also use Paypal for a one time gift.

While the public can find hope and security if laws and sentencing guidelines can improve; the victims of sex crime in Washington County are left shattered by the crime even if the offender is punished to the fullest extent of the law. Contact elected officials; but also consider the important step of supporting victims. Please consider donating to EmpowerSurvivors here in Washington County. Find out more at 

Legislators to contact in Washington County:

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.