Brookston man found guilty of sexual assault

The 60-year-old may face significant prison time for the 2018 assault.

courtroom gavel

DULUTH — A jury last week convicted a Brookston man of raping a woman while brandishing a replica handgun.

John Gregory Maio, 60, was found guilty by a Duluth jury of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, along with making threats of violence, in the Dec. 20, 2018, assault at his home along County Highway 31.

John Gregory Maio
John Gregory Maio

A criminal complaint states that the victim had been housesitting for Maio, who returned home and was angry that she had her boyfriend at the residence. The boyfriend left the house and waited down the road so the woman could collect her personal belongings.

The victim told investigators that Maio then displayed an apparent handgun, placed it on a bedside table and proceeded to rape her. She confirmed that she felt threatened by the weapon and the possibility that Maio would use it.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the home and seized an airsoft gun that was hidden in the kitchen behind some boxes of cereal, the complaint states. In an interview, Maio allegedly stated he had engaged in sexual intercourse with the woman in the past but said nothing had occurred that day.


The complaint states that he later told a jail visitor that he was angry about the victim's boyfriend being present and confirmed that he grabbed the gun and "made sure she saw it."

Defense attorney K. Scott Belfry argued the sexual conduct was consensual. But the 12-member jury rejected that argument, finding Maio guilty of all three counts on March 7.

The verdict came more than four years after Maio was first charged, with records indicating the case has weathered delays related to attorney changes, the pandemic and litigation regarding the admissibility of evidence at trial.

Judge Eric Hylden revoked Maio's bond and ordered him held at the St. Louis County Jail. Sentencing is scheduled for May 26.

Belfry, in the meantime, has filed a motion for a new trial alleging legal errors, including a pretrial order that denied the defense's request to introduce evidence of previous sexual assault reports filed by the victim that did not result in charges.

Court records show that Maio has an extensive criminal history dating back at least 20 years, including multiple convictions for harassment restraining order violations, check forgery and theft. He also has been convicted in controlled substance, impaired driving and burglary cases.

Maio's top conviction, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, carries up to 30 year in prison.

To get help

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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