Bemidji Assistant Principal Sentenced to 25 Years for Posing as Minor, Having Sexual Conversations with Students

Former Assistant Principal With District from 2005 to 2017

BEMIDJI, Minn.-A former assistant principal at Bemidji Middle School has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pretending to be a teenage boy online and having sexual conversations with students.

Brandon Mark Bjerknes, 35, had been federally charged with producing and distributing child pornography and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to a personnel data request with the school district, Bjerknes worked for Bemidji Area Schools from June 2005 until April 2017, when he resigned. He held a variety of positions, including second and fifth grade teacher and Bemidji Middle School Dean of Students. In 2014, he started working as the middle school’s assistant principal.

According to the criminal complaint, while he was assistant principal, on social media he pretended to be a 13-to-15-year-old boy named Brett Larson who was “attending” school at Morgan Park in Duluth, which has been closed for several years now. He used “decoy photographs” to reach out to underage boys and girls, who were in middle school and high school.

Posing as Brett Larson, he asked minors to send him sexually explicit pictures and have sexual conversations.

Some of the children went to Bemidji Middle School. Police believe he contacted more than 50 minor victims.

Police executed a search warrant on Bjerknes’ home in Bemidji on March 20. After searching his devices, they found multiple sexually explicit photos and videos of minors.

Fox 9 on Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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