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12-Nov-2019 14:43

Gallegos claims he had never believed the person he was chatting with was a minor.

At some point, Gallegos said he was convinced the person was a gay man posing as a girl because in the past he had arranged meetings with supposed females only to meet a man.

— Bemidji Middle School’s assistant principal was charged with two felonies Friday after allegedly posing as a 13-year-old boy on social media in order to have sexual conversations with minors.

Brandon Mark Bjerknes, 34, was arraigned Friday afternoon after being charged with two counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child.

During oral arguments Wednesday, justices differed as to whether Gallegos' conversation could convict him.

On March 21, the sheriff’s department searched a cellphone that was seized and found conversations on Snapchat under the username Brett Larson6969.According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Bjerknes had been using the name “Brett Larson” on Facebook, Snapchat and email accounts, and claiming he was a student at a Duluth school.The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department began investigating a Facebook account for “Brett Larson” in January.Bemidji Area Schools released a statement on Friday morning that said the district received a complaint regarding Bjerknes on March 20 and that he was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The statement also said, “As always, the priority for Bemidji Area Schools is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students.

All complaints regarding school district employees are taken seriously and will work with all appropriate agencies to ensure that a comprehensive investigation is completed.” Bjerknes became the assistant principal at the middle school in 2014 after being promoted from dean of students.