An attempt by a rural Frazee man to escape felony sex charges by bribing the victim resulted in new felony charges against the man and his wife, and ended Sunday evening with the man’s unexpected death.
Patrick John Furey, 56, of rural Frazee was charged in Becker County District Court with two counts of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
According to court records, Furey took a number of nude photos of a teenage girl in 2011 and 2012, and touched her private parts. He denied it to investigators, but later told a third party that he lied to the police and had taken the photos.
His death Sunday came the day before he was summoned to appear again in Becker County District Court on new charges: felony bribery and two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse.
His wife, Sara Jayne Furey, 45, was also facing felony charges in the same case, for bribery and aiding an offender -- accomplice after the fact.
The victim in the sex case was protected by a no-contact restraining order obtained Nov. 26, 2018.
According to court records, on Oct. 11, Sara Furey spoke to the victim by phone and allowed Patrick Furey to talk to her, too, in spite of the no-contact order. Patrick Furey told the victim to drop the protection order against him and to talk to his attorney, who practices in Detroit Lakes. The couple wanted the victim to tell their lawyer that she had made up the statements she made during investigative interviews.
In exchange, the couple offered to give the victim a car, a phone and a place to live, according to court records.
The next day, Sara Furey and the protected person were together when Patrick Furey called and his wife put the call on speakerphone. The couple told the victim that their lives have been ruined because of the criminal sexual conduct charges against Furey, according to court records. They wanted her to talk to Furey’s lawyer and say she had lied about the sex case and that she is mentally ill. Furey repeated their offer to buy her a car, a phone, and provide a place to live if she did what they asked.
Sara Furey had the victim write a statement to be given to Patrick Furey’s lawyer, which she did. The attempted bribes were corroborated by text messages on the victim’s phone, according to court records.
On Oct. 28, a search warrant was executed for cellphones belonging to the Fureys. Sara Furey made numerous statements and admitted picking up the protected person. Patrick Furey admitted a note from the victim was given to his attorney.
Patrick Furey spoke to the victim by phone twice in October, the first time for nearly 15 minutes, according to court records. The domestic abuse charges were the result of him violating the no-contact order during those calls.
A summons was issued by District Judge Mike Fritz for Furey to appear in court at 8:31 a.m. today, Monday, Nov. 25, on the new charges.
Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander told the Tribune he was aware of Furey's death, and that his department is assisting the Frazee Police Department in the investigation.
On Monday, all the charges against Furey were dismissed at the request of the Becker County Attorney’s Office because “the defendant is deceased,” according to court records.
All charges were also dropped against Sara Furey because, according to the Becker County Attorney’s Office, “based on the unexpected passing of her husband, justice would not be served,” to proceed with the prosecution.