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Wadena social worker charged with sex crimes

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A chemical dependency counselor with Wadena County Human Services faces seven criminal charges amid accusations he provided alcohol and drugs to a client in his care and also had sexual contact with one of the boys.

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The story started with the drug and alcohol assessor, Todd Michael Anderson, making a friend request of one of the young men on Facebook and finished with a drunken car race that came to an abrupt end with a car crash.

According to court documents, an 18-year-old man received a Facebook friend request from Anderson, who was the young man's chemical dependency counselor. The 18-year-old accepted the request, figuring Anderson was checking in on his chemical dependency progress. Instead, Anderson suggested on May 31 that they get together for "some fun and a private counseling session," court records said. The 18-year-old said he was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Later that night, Anderson again requested they get together, and shortly after, showed up at the 18-year-old's camper with rum, marijuana, music and playing cards. The 18-year-old told police Anderson loaded the marijuana pipe, and asked if the 18-year-old if he would perform sexual favors on him. When the 18-year-old refused, Anderson performed sexual favors on him, then eventually left. The 18-year-old described a similar sexual encounter on the following day.

Two days after that, the 18-year-old, a 19-year-old friend and the 18-year-old's girlfriend were at a popular Wadena County swimming hole when Anderson allegedly showed up, stripped himself naked, and tried touching the two boys. In order to get him to stop, the two young men suggested they race their cars, which Anderson agreed to. The result of the race was a car accident and a DUI charge, which led to the investigation.

After that incident, Anderson told the 18-year-old "you can't tell anyone" and "I can pull strings and [expletive] your life up."

On June 10, authorities interviewed Anderson, who admitted to them he had oral sex with one of the young men, court documents said.

Before that happened, his employment with Wadena County Human Services ended. Director Paul Sailer said Human Services accepted Anderson's resignation on June 7, and that resignation was effective June 9. Sailer said Anderson was hired Nov. 13,

2007 as a social worker for the agency, and at that time, a criminal background check as well as an extensive employment background screening were completed. Sailer said Anderson passed on both counts.

"There was no indication of any violation of that [background check] statute," Sailer said.

Anderson faces four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and four counts of furnishing alcohol to people under 21. Four of the criminal sexual conduct charges are related to Anderson's authority over the alleged victims, and are considered "serious felonies" under the law.

Anderson posted $1,000 bail with conditions and was released. His next court appearance was set for July 8.

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