Cloquet man sentenced for window peeping with mask, gunRichard Allen Paul, 57, of Cloquet pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Carlton County District Court for felony “interference with privacy” Wednesday morning in front of his victims, other neighbors and his own family.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Sixth District Judge Robert Macaulay quadrupled the recommended jail time Wednesday when he sentenced a Cloquet man who was caught peeping at his neighbor’s juvenile daughters through a bedroom window.
Richard Allen Paul, 57, of Cloquet pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Carlton County District Court for “interference with privacy” Wednesday morning in front of his victims, other neighbors and his own family. The charge – a felony because the person whose privacy was violated was a minor – accuses Allen of intentionally intruding upon or interfering with the privacy of a member of a household and wrongfully interfering with the privacy of a member of the household.
B.J. Berg discovered Paul outside Berg’s home at 11:30 p.m. June 14, 2011, wearing a black ski mask, tan shirt and jeans peering into a bedroom window. When Berg confronted him, Paul said something about trying to find his dogs. Berg told him “Not at my daughter’s window you’re not’’ and told him to get off his property.
Berg followed Paul to his home and called the police, who searched Paul’s home and found night vision goggles, the ski mask, clothing and a loaded handgun – Paul admitted to police he had a firearm on his hip at the time he was outside Berg’s home.
That was nine months ago. Since then, Paul has completed a residential addiction treatment program at Hazelden and is undergoing follow-up treatment, counseling and attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
In his victim impact statement, Berg talked about the close-knit nature of their rural Cloquet neighborhood, and how Paul had built up trust with his neighbors and their children over the past 12 years.
“This whole ordeal has been a sad lesson for our kids and family to learn … that you may not be able to trust the people you have grown to respect and that your home may not be the safe haven you thought it was,” Berg told the court, adding that his children haven’t ventured down the road on their bikes to visit friends since then. “Some of their childhood innocence has been lost and their perception of safety in our home has been diminished.”
Paul, who was director of Behavior Services for Essentia Health in Duluth before he was arrested, made a statement apologizing to the Berg family, his neighbors and the community.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret my actions,” Paul told the court. “Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for [the Berg family] that God gives them relief from the pain I gave to them.”
Macaulay noted that Paul appeared to be “genuinely shamed, remorseful and interested in taking his life in a different direction,” but said he agreed with Berg that Paul’s actions that night were “bold, brazen and significantly victimized [Berg’s] family and the community as a whole.”
“I think there should be significantly greater jail sentence [than the 30 days recommended by probation officers], so I am imposing a sentence of 120 days in jail,” Macaulay told the defendant.
The sentence, however, was a staggered sentence. The judge told Paul he was to serve the first 30 days in the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center starting immediately – actually only 16 days with credit for four days served and time for good behavior – and additional 30-day increments could be stayed provided Paul followed his 21 probation conditions.
As part of those conditions, Paul must:
+ Enter and successfully complete sex offender treatment;
+ Enter and complete individual counseling as directed and continue until no longer recommended;
+ Have no contact whatsoever with the Berg family or go within 500 feet of their property;
+ Have no contact whatsoever with any minor under the age or 18 unless it’s approved in advance by his probation officer;
+ Attend AA three times a week;
+ Continue treatment program at Hazelden;
+ Attend weekly aftercare for chemical dependence;
+ Not possess or access online any pornographic or sexually explicit materials;
+ Abstain from alcohol or any mood-altering drugs unless prescribed by a physician.