Cloquet man pleads guilty to assaulting children ages 2, 3Kristopher Allan Stiffarm, 21, of Cloquet pleaded guilty to two felony counts of Malicious Punishment of a Child Under the Age of 4 in Carlton County Court on Wednesday. Stiffarm is charged with assaulting two children in his care, ages 2 and 3.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Kristopher Allan Stiffarm, 21, of Cloquet pleaded guilty to two felony counts of Malicious Punishment of a Child Under the Age of 4 in Carlton County Court on Wednesday. Stiffarm is charged with assaulting two children in his care, ages 2 and 3.
According to the terms of a plea agreement, Stiffarm would receive a guideline sentence on Count 1 of 15 months in jail, stayed for three years. As a condition of the stay, he would serve 135 days in jail, complete a pre-sentence investigation and a chemical use assessment.
On Count 2, it is anticipated that he would serve a guideline sentence of 18 months, stayed for three years. As a condition of the stay, he would serve 135 days in jail, complete a pre-sentence investigation and chemical use assessment and follow the recommendations. The sentence would run consecutively with the first one, which means this sentence would begin after he has served time on
Stiffarm would receive credit for time already served in jail.
According to the criminal complaint, at approximately 3:30 a.m. July 31, Fond du Lac police officers received information that Stiffarm had assaulted several people, including his girlfriend’s two small
children who were in his care.
The complainant agreed to meet police at the Fond du Lac Police Station, and when officers arrived, there were several people waiting there. Among them were two children, a 3-year-old boy and a 2-year old girl. Both of the children reportedly had swollen faces and officers reported they appeared as though they had been struck with either an object or a fist. The boy was bleeding from his nose and lip and the girl was bleeding from her ear.
One of the adults stated she had received a phone call from another person, who stated that Stiffarm had assaulted the children. She and several other adults then went to Stiffarm’s home on Jarvi Road to get the children and bring them to safety.
The woman said when they got to the house Stiffarm charged at her and punched her in the face, and officers noted she had a red mark on the side of her face where she had allegedly been hit. She said Stiffarm then told her and the other adults that he had hit the children and that he would do it again.
The two children were then taken to the hospital by one of the officers to be examined by a doctor. When the officer asked the 3-year-old boy what happened to him, the boy replied, “Kris stepped on my face,” repeating it several times. The officer noted that the children appeared to be very frightened and wouldn’t speak above a whisper.
The officer reported that at that time, the side of the boy’s face was swollen and he appeared to have several bumps on his head. The girl had a bruise along one side of her face and a scratch that was bleeding on her ear.
After the children were treated, they were released to the custody of their grandmother.
Stiffarm was subsequently arrested, transported to the Carlton County Jail and later charged.
In court on Wednesday, Stiffarm told Judge Robert Macaulay that he had been drinking the night of the incident and has no recall of anything up until the police showed up at his house to arrest him. His public defender, Nichole Eickhoff, said Stiffarm is nonetheless “not disputing any of this.”
A third count of fifth-degree assault filed against Stiffarm was dropped as part of the plea agreement. However, since he was on probation at the time of the incident, he also pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating his probation.
Stiffarm is set for sentencing on Monday, Oct. 10.