Skip to main content

A former Mille Lacs County sheriff's deputy has been accused of raping a girl when she was as young as six. 

Russell James Bankey, 73, was charged via summons in January with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to sexually assaulting and raping a girl from about 2009-2015. 

Mille Lacs County Sheriff Don Lorge confirmed to Bring Me The News on Wednesday that Bankey had worked for the sheriff's office, part-time, in court security but could not comment on the open investigation, noting his office didn't handle the investigation. 

Court documents show Bankey was a sheriff's deputy who worked "closely with the court for many years," which has led to at least three judicial officers recusing themselves from the case. 

According to the criminal complaint, the victim told the Benton County Sheriff's Office in August 2021 that Bankey sexually abused her hundreds of times from about the time she was 6 or 7 until she was 10 or 11 years old, according to the criminal complaint.

Bankey assaulted her at a property in Garrison, Minnesota, as well as in his camper, charges said. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

In August 2021, the victim contacted Bankey by phone (the call was recorded), with charges noting he apologized and said he assaulted her because "I guess I was lonesome." He also said he'd be in a "lot of trouble" if it ever got out about what he did. 

Bankey will make his initial court appearance at 10 a.m. on March 17.

Bankey also worked for the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police Department, according to his LinkedIn page. Bring Me The News has reached out for comment. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 5.21.04 PM

Ex-South St. Paul coach dies by suicide 2 days before sentencing

Matthew McCollister was to be sentenced for fraud in federal court on Wednesday.

uawgitwa5lpcj158xkfx

Minnesota 'glampground' named one of 10 best in U.S.

In Nevis, Minnesota, campers can stay in a refurbished 1905 train car.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Two men charged over terrifying armed robbery at Newport apartment

They shot the woman who lives in the apartment in the abdomen, and put a gun to a man's head.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis 2-year-old identified in suspicious death case

The cause of death has not yet been revealed due to an ongoing investigation.

Arianna Vos

Victim of wrong-way driver crash ID'd as Hutchinson 19-year-old

Three women, ages 19, 20 and 20, were in the vehicle struck by a wrong-way driver early Sunday morning.

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.

Related

Bryan Ellinger

Charges: Trail of Terror supervisor raped 15-year-old employee

The victim called out her rapist in a conversation between them on Snapchat years after the assault and he admitted to what he did, the complaint says.

Neil Dolan

Charges: Sheriff's deputy raped underage student at school in 2017

The 29-year-old was working as a school resource officer at the time.

police lights

Charges: Deputy was on drugs during high-speed chase that turned deadly

Kelly Backman had fentanyl in his system at the time of the chase, which ended when the suspect crashed into another vehicle, killing a married couple.

Charges: Man raped 2 women while out on bail for attempted rape

The attacks happened a month apart in south Minneapolis.

Stephanie Marie Wesley

Community 'devastated' after woman hit, killed by sheriff's deputy

Those who knew her said she was a good friend who was there for everyone.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud teen charged with raping girl in high school bathroom

Police say it happened during a basketball game in late 2019.