Skip to main content

Former Renaissance Festival supervisor pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 3 teenagers

The three victims worked with Bryan Ellinger at the time of the assaults.
Bryan Ellinger

Bryan Ellinger

A former Minnesota Renaissance Festival and Trail of Terror employee admitted to sexually assaulting three teenage girls when they worked for him at the popular Shakopee attractions. 

Bryan E. Ellinger, 31, of Shakopee, pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection to the assaults, according to court records. The assaults occurred between 2012 and 2017, while he was a manager.

The plea agreement says Ellinger admits to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to the three cases, with the other charges being dismissed. 

Ellinger is set to be sentenced on Jan. 24, 2022, with the plea agreement showing he'll serve between 185 to 229 months (more than 15 years to 19 years) in prison. He will also be required to register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life.

The criminal charges stem from three separate cases.

In January of this year, Ellinger was arrested and charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in 2013, when he was 24 and worked as her manager at Trail of Terror. Court documents said they had a sexual relationship for two months, and that he sexually assaulted her in a Trail of Terror display. The victim also said he raped her when she was passed out at a hotel. 

In that case, he was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A few months after Ellinger's arrest two more victims came forward. The second victim, who was 15 when she worked at Trail of Terror in 2012 said Ellinger, then 24, was her direct supervisor. He started hugging her and asked her to go with him to a festival trailer, saying, "I'm your boss, it's going to be OK." She went with, and he raped her, charges state. 

He was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with that case. He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The third victim to come forward said she was 17 in 2017 when Ellinger, then 28, was her direct supervisor at the Renaissance Festival and Trail of Terror. She told police he sexually assaulted her in a wine cooler on the festival grounds and at his mom's home in Shakopee, during which the victim said he "forced" her through manipulation to have a sexual encounter with him and his girlfriend, who also reportedly worked at the festivals, court documents say. 

He was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to that case. He pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct on Tuesday. 

Prosecutors said Ellinger frequently discussed his victims during jail calls, sometimes mocking them using sarcastic voices. Other times he admitted to being a "predator," saying, "I guess I have predatory behavior because I'm a predator. I'm into different things." He admitted he needs therapy for his sex addiction but said he's never been "forceful," charges against him say.

Police reviewed jail phone call records in which Ellinger discussed the third victim, saying: "I'm not worried about [the victim]. I knew that would come back and bite me in the butt." He also was heard telling his girlfriend to delete one of his Facebook accounts, telling her to "make up a story" if she's asked about it, charges said.

Next Up

dave lee wcco radio

Former WCCO Radio host Dave Lee moves into podcasts

His new podcast, called 'My First Concert,' launched last week.

Tow Boat

Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, May 23

The latest from the state health department.

police tape, crime scene

Police: 2 people shot, 1 fatally over the weekend in La Crosse

Officers arrived to the scene and found one person suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Bear killed after it attacked couple in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin couple fight, kill bear that broke into their home

The incident happened last week in north-central Wisconsin.

Image from iOS (2)

Urban Outfitters store in Uptown to close

A number of national chains have departed Uptown in recent years.

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 6.41.22 AM

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul officially launched in Duluth ceremony

It's the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

North High principal Mauri Friestleben returning to finish year

The principal said Friday she had been fired from her role over her support of a student protest.

ambulance

One dead, two injured in wrong-way crash on Hwy. 169

The crash occurred on Highway 169 early Sunday morning.

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

Related

Bryan Ellinger

Charges: Trail of Terror supervisor sexually assaulted 3 teenage employees

Bryan Ellinger was arrested in January accused of raping a 15-year-old employee. Two more women have come forward accusing him of sexually assaulted them as teens.

Anoka Middle School for Arts

Former Anoka school teacher pleads guilty to sexually assaulting teen boys

The assaults occurred between 2010-2019, court documents say, when the boys were as young as 14.

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.

tom burke

Charges: Wisconsin star, former NFL player sexually assaulted a child

The child told her mother about the assaults in February, charges say.

Charges: Renaissance Festival director raped photographer

The 59 year old plays the "Rat Catcher" at the annual event.

kevin belker

Charges: Bloomington school employee sexually assaulted kids in the 1970s

Five victims have come forward alleging Kevin Belker assaulted them when they were kids.

mark kosloski - chisago county jail

Former volleyball coach charged with sexually assaulting a player

Mark Kosloski was a coach at North Lakes Academy for six years, resigning in February for personal reasons.

Facebook - GoGo dog stolen vehicle -  St. Paul Police Department

Teenager pleads guilty to stealing SUV with dog inside, letting it die

He also pleaded guilty in connection to a shooting outside a St. Paul community center in May.