A former police officer has pleaded guilty to allegations she sent a bribe offer to a judge overseeing her child custody dispute — but made it appear to have been sent by the other party in the case.
Rebecca A. Pieper, 40, entered a guilty plea last Thursday, according to court documents. She agreed to plead guilty to one count of felony harassment in exchange for a misdemeanor-level sentence, the plea agreement states.
The charges filed against Pieper on Sept. 21, 2021, accuse her of first sending a lewd package to the home of a judge.
The judge had been overseeing a child custody case between Pieper and a man in early 2020 when the incidents occurred. On Jan. 27 that year — four days after the man went to the court regarding a change in custody — the judge received the anonymous explicit package at her home. In it was a floral box with the words "Eat A D****" printed inside, as well as a penis-shaped piece of chocolate. (The attorney representing the male party in the case received a similar package around the same time.)
Then, on Jan. 31, a letter was delivered to the judge's home. It urged her to "take a major step in my case" and "impose an action" — and offered a $5,000 cash bribe for doing so. The letter was signed by the male party in the case.
But the judge thought that was odd, since she'd most recently ruled in the man's favor. She was also aware of allegations from the man the Pieper had forged his signature in the past. So she notified authorities.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found a thumbprint matching Pieper's on the letter. Credit card statements tied to Pieper found two transactions on Jan. 23, 2020, with "dicksbymail.com."
Pieper, from Louisville Township, was a police officer at the rural Olivia Police Department at the time she was charged, though according to Willmar Radio resigned from her post in November.
As part of her plea deal, Pieper's 90-day jail sentence will be stayed while she is on probation — which will be a one- or two-year period, to be determined at sentencing. She will also have to take part in anger management and other programming, cannot have contact with the male victim, and must remain law-abiding.
If she violates any of these terms, the court can sentence her as if there was no plea agreement.