Shortly before Christmas, charges were filed against a Forest Lake man who allegedly assaulted and raped a woman with the cooperation of multiple girlfriends last November.
According to court records, Lawson Tolentine Waples Ward, 40, was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. In November, a woman told Forest Lake police that on Nov. 16, she had visited Ward, whom she knows, at his home at 21000 Birdie Pass Drive. He allegedly engaged a sexual encounter with her; she told police she did not want the encounter to happen but did not ask Ward to stop. Soon, however, three women who police later allegedly learned were Ward’s girlfriends entered the basement where Ward and the women were.
The woman said she told Ward the other women’s presence made her uncomfortable, but when she said she wanted to stop, the women held her down, at which point Ward began sexually assaulting her for what she believed was about two hours, including the use of sexual implements, while she yelled for him to stop. At one point, she said, Ward instructed one of the other women to start assaulting her as well.
The woman went to police about 10 days after the alleged incident occurred. She allegedly provided police with a text message sent to her by one of the women that shows her being assaulted.
On Dec. 20, police executed a search warrant on Ward’s home and allegedly located several implements consistent to what the victim told officers Ward used on her. Ward and two of the women who were allegedly involved in the assault were arrested at that time.
Ward has an extensive rap sheet, and police learned that he has an arrested warrant in New Jersey for not complying with his requirements as a sex offender registrant there.
A 79-year-old Forest Lake man recently made initial appearances in Washington County court for two charges of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct after two apparently unrelated reports of him engaging in unwanted physical sexual advances toward two teen females.
According to court records, the first of the advances allegedly occurred on Jan. 1, 2019, when a then-17-year-old girl told police that Donald Burel Worth had tried to kiss her. The teen worked at the Forest Lake McDonald’s and said Worth is a regular customer there; he reportedly put his arm around her as she was stocking the drink machine and told her “You haven’t had your New Year’s kiss.” He allegedly grabbed her shoulder and pulled her in, trying to kiss her on the cheek; the teen told police she broke free of his grasp and went behind the counter, where she started to cry.
The teen also told police that about a month prior, Worth had approached her and put his hand on her breast before touching her back.
The second person to report Worth’s activities to police was a 19-year-old Forest Lake Walmart employee who told police Worth touched her breasts during an interaction at the Walmart Subway restaurant on Oct. 17. The woman said Worth approached her while she was in line and asked several times if he could flirt with her, which she declined. She alleged that he then acted as if he wanted to read the words on her shirt and reached out to touch the shirt, putting his hand on one of her breasts and running it across her chest to the other breast.
When interviewed by police, Worth reportedly denied both allegations that he touched the women’s breasts but did allegedly admit to trying to kiss the 17-year-old.
The following are other recent local court cases in Washington County Courts:
• Roman Lee Lundberg, 37, of Forest Lake, made an initial appearance Nov. 21 for making threats with a dangerous weapon.
• Jennifer Ann Daml, 28, of Lexington, made an initial appearance Dec. 12 for a fifth-degree drug charge related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Winter Rose Smith, 27, of St. Paul, made an initial appearance Dec. 12 for a fifth-degree drug charge and theft related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Richard Robert Wemyess, 49, of St. Paul, made an initial appearance Dec. 12 for a fifth-degree drug charge, introducing contraband into jail and driving after revocation related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Matthew Joseph Elms, 55, of Forest Lake, made an initial appearance Dec. 13 for a fifth-degree drug crime.
• Melissa Luann Smith, 44, of Forest Lake, was sentenced Dec. 16 for a fifth-degree drug crime.
• Matthew Floyd Grey, 28, of North Branch, was sentenced Dec. 16 for a fifth-degree drug crime related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• George Cecil O’Connor Jr., 58, of Hugo, was sentenced Dec. 19 for third-degree assault related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Gage Aaryn Drewlo, 22, of Forest Lake, made an initial appearance Dec. 26 for theft by swindle.