Weather Forecast


Former Iron Range hockey coach sentenced in Internet case

A former Iron Range girls hockey coach accused of traveling to Ohio for sex with a 14-year-old girl he believed he contacted on the Internet was sentenced to 17 months in prison Monday, but he probably won't have to serve that long.

Donald Richard Lindstrom, 48, of Babbitt can be released after spending 45 days in an Ohio institution provided he has good behavior. Lindstrom must also register as a sex offender for 10 years and must not use the Internet outside the scope of his employment.

Lindstrom received the sentence from Judge Richard Reinbold in Stark County Court of Common Pleas in Canton, Ohio.

"He apologized for his actions," said Bailiff Jeffrey J. Foltz, who was in the courtroom Monday. "His wife was here and he apologized for embarrassing his family. He also apologized to his employees."

Renee Watson, assistant Stark County prosecutor, said additional conditions of Lindstrom's release will be considered if he qualifies for early release at a judicial hearing after 45 days of imprisonment.

Lindstrom was an unpaid volunteer coach for the Babbitt-Embarrass/Tower-Soudan/Ely girls high school hockey team last year. He and his wife, Becky, operate Black Iron Rubber Co. in Babbitt. He resigned as hockey coach last August after the charges against him became public.

The Babbitt-Embarrass/Tower-Soudan/Ely hockey program is sponsored by the St. Louis County school district through the Minnesota State High School League but is funded by the East Range Athletic Association, a private nonprofit organization.

Lindstrom pleaded guilty in December to attempting unlawful sex with a minor and importuning -- soliciting another for sexual activity by means of a telecommunications device.

According to Massillon, Ohio, Municipal Court records, Lindstrom was arrested at a food court Aug. 10 by members of the FBI's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Jackson Township [Ohio] Police Department. He was accused of connecting with an undercover police officer -- who Lindstrom believed to be a 14-year-old girl he was soliciting for sex -- in a chat room whose topic was "underage girls."

Massillon police Detective Bobby Grizzard played the role of the 14-year-old girl who had been communicating online with Lindstrom from July 18 until his arrest. Grizzard said Lindstrom went by the user name "Siberswede" online and said he was a hockey coach.