County attorney issues public apology after return to workIn a prepared statement issued through the media on Wednesday, Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler apologized to his family, colleagues and constituents for his actions “that gave rise to the circumstances for my absence,” he said.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
In a prepared statement issued through the media on Wednesday, Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler apologized to his family, colleagues and constituents for his actions “that gave rise to the circumstances for my absence,” he said.
Pertler was back at work this week after completing an inpatient treatment program at Hazelden Treatment Center in Center City, Minn., for the past month.
Pertler, 48, of Cloquet was stopped by a State Patrol trooper north of Duluth on July 17 after other motorists and the trooper reported him driving erratically. After a blood test revealed his blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit, he was charged with driving while impaired, refusing to submit to a chemical test, speeding, driving over the center line, failure to signal, possession of an open bottle and no proof of insurance.
Following his release from the St. Louis County Jail, Pertler said he voluntarily checked himself into the program at Hazelden.
“That is but the first step of my recovery,” said Pertler in his statement. “Now I am anxious to get back to work and my family while I continue to work on my ongoing recovery.”
Pertler said he communicated with his staff at the Carlton County attorney’s office during his absence in order to keep up to date with certain cases that required his attention and supplied them with updates on his anticipated return-to-work date.
Perhaps first and foremost on Pertler’s agenda is the October trial of Rachel Charlotte Defoe, charged with being a co-conspirator in a double homicide in Cromwell last year. In an online interview later in the day on Wednesday, Pertler said no motion was filed for a delay of the trial in his absence, and he confirmed that his office will be proceeding as planned toward the scheduled trial date unless the case gets resolved prior to that time.
As for the impact of his recent personal experience on his role as county attorney, Pertler reflected that though he has always tried to do his best to do his job “even-handedly without judging those people I prosecute,” he added he is “keenly aware that perfectly good people get in trouble from time to time.”
When asked if, in hindsight, he believes that public figures such as him are unfairly targeted by the media for their actions, or if such reporting actually helps them get back on the right track, he stated, “I wish I knew the answer, but those public figures for the most part really don’t have any input into what gets reported. As for the end results, we can be optimistic and hope for positive changes.”
In his prepared statement, Pertler thanked his friends, family, colleagues and the community for their support during his absence.
“Your cards, emails, texts, phone calls and other messages reaffirm my dedication and commitment to the office and a career in public service,” he said. “I will tirelessly work hard and strive to regain the trust, respect and dignity that the position of county attorney demands.”
Pertler is scheduled to make his first appearance in St. Louis County Court on the charges against him in early September.