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Barnum woman accused of assaulting woman in her care

An 18-year-old Barnum woman faces charges after allegedly abusing a young person to whom she was a caregiver.

Jasmine Melissa Collins was charged in Sixth District Carlton County Court last week with felony first-degree criminal

sexual conduct with penetration, of a victim who is mentally or physically impaired or helpless. She was also charged with fifth-degree misdemeanor assault.

According to the criminal complaint, the case has been under investigation since March, when the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office received a report of alleged harm to an 18-year-old woman with handicaps that render her nonverbal and in need of daily caretaking.

A deputy interviewed the alleged victim — an intelligent young woman who communicates through movement of her head, mouth and tongue — and she indicated that Collins, her personal care attendant, was very rough with her during care. The victim alleged that Collins hit her with an open hand, causing pain. She also indicated that Collins touched her private parts without needing to for care, and sexually assaulted her with a curling iron, investigators later determined.

The victim’s mother said she noticed in March her daughter would scream when Collins entered the home, and that she noticed bruising and some bleeding. Her daughter became fearful of seeing Collins at school and generally more anxious.

A doctor examined the victim on March 29 and found signs of physical and sexual abuse, plus new anxiety and symptoms consistant with panic attacks. During the exam, the young woman indicated she had been hit and sexually abused by Collins.

When interviewed by law enforcement, Collins confirmed she worked as a PCA for her accuser, but denied hitting or inappropriately touching her.

DNA samples from both the alleged victim and Collins, along with the curling iron, have been sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.

Collins was arraigned Friday, June 21, with bail set at $150,000. As of Wednesday, Collins remained in the Carlton County jail. Her next hearing is set for 9 a.m. July 3. She was ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family.

If convicted, the maximum sentence for first-degree

criminal sexual conduct is 30 years or a $40,000 fine or both.

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