Teen charged with sex abuse goes to criminal court

A 17-year-old charged with committing a sexual assault while impersonating a police officer will face felony charges in criminal court.

Tristian MacDonald was charged in March for allegedly gaining entry into a Marshalltown home by claiming he was a police officer and proceeding to conduct physical searches of the people inside.

He was charged with two forcible felonies – third-degree sexual abuse and first-degree burglary – which will be prosecuted in criminal court. Other charges, including impersonating a public official, an aggravated misdemeanor, third-degree harassment and two counts of simple assault, both simple misdemeanors, were transferred to juvenile court.

A district court judge last week denied a motion to transfer all charges to juvenile court.

According to court documents, MacDonald patted down and searched several people, both male and female, in the home during the March 25 crime. MacDonald made a male victim strip naked, fondled him and inserted his fingers into the victim’s anus.

MacDonald, who was 16 when he was charged, has been “engaged in an escalating pattern of telling people false information about himself,” according to court documents.

As a freshman in high school he told people he was working for the CIA as an undercover spy. During his sophomore year he claimed to be a paramedic and would show up at sporting events with his own medical kit and try to take over EMT duties, according to court documents.

While court records show MacDonald has participated in mental health services for prior charges – first-degree harassment and intimidation with a dangerous weapon – it is alleged that he has “continued to engage in assaultive, harassing and intimidating behaviors towards others, only on a much more serious scale.”

District Court Judge James McGlynn, a former juvenile court judge, wrote in his order that he didn’t believe there was enough time for MacDonald to receive rehabilitation in juvenile court.

“In the Court’s experience finding an appropriate placement for a 17-year-old juvenile can be difficult and frustrating … in comparison, the adult system has much more time and many more options and resources with which to rehabilitate the defendant,” he wrote.

MacDonald has pleaded not guilty to charges. A jury trial was previously scheduled for June 6.