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St. Paul sergeant accused of lying to grand jury is placed on leave

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A sergeant with the St. Paul police has been placed on paid administrative leave after being accused by federal judges of lying to a grand jury.

The Star Tribune reports that Sgt. Heather Weyker is on leave after a Court of Appeals in Tennessee said she lied in a sex-trafficking case involving three men from the Twin Cities, who were later cleared of charges.

The men, Idris Fahra, Andrew Kayachith and Yassin Yusuf, spent more than four years in prison after they were found guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children.

But according to the Pioneer Press, the appeals court found the alleged victims in the case had "serious credibility issues" and a judge felt Sgt. Weyker "likely exaggerated or fabricated important aspects" of a victim's story.

The newspaper adds that Sgt. Weyker, who was the lead investigator on the case, was also caught lying to a grand jury and a detention hearing.

MPR reports the St. Paul PD has launched an internal investigation in the wake of the court's decision, meanwhile prosecutors in the city are trying to determine whether the court's finding will affect Sgt. Weyker's other cases.

The three Twin Cities men, who are Somali-Americans, will be released from custody Friday, the news organization says, while the pending cases of 16 other people involved in the trial are under review in Tennessee.

KSTP explained the actions that earned Sgt. Weyker a rebuke. She is said to have spoke with a teenage girl on 30 occasions who was described as a "habitual runaway who had a history with police."

These meetings eventually led to a story in which the girl was not described as a troubled runaway, but instead "an innocent child taken in by a Somali gang who used her for sex," the TV station notes.

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