Thursday, August 6, 2015

Result of Death Threats toward Foster County Recorder Lynelle Hoppe

Result of Death Threats toward Recorder Lynelle Hoppe

I personally appeared before the Foster County Commission on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, to discuss the death threats which were texted to a county cell phone about Recorder Lynelle Hoppe on June 4, 2015.   I was, and still am, concerned about what is being done to address this situation.

The seven or eight ex-employees, who were discussing or "joking" about ways to kill Recorder Hoppe, no longer work for Foster County.  However,  one of the texters still works at the courthouse in an office located on the floor above Recorder Hoppe.

One would think that the employee would have been disciplined in some way right after the messages with death threats were discovered.   However, after Sheriff Mattice made his report to State's Attorney Paul Murphy, nothing seemed to happen.  It was as if the event did not take place.

However, since the issue of texted death threats was  published in the Foster County Independent, and published on, I had had numerous inquiries from the public wanting to know the status of this investigation and/or prosecution.  

So, on July 8, 2015, I decided to write some letters to find out what was going on and to shed some light on this situation.

I had already written a letter to Joel Lemer, since Ms. Hesch is his secretary, and sent a copy to the North Dakota State University Extension Office, his employer, but had received no response from them.  Since I had been led to believe that Ms. Hesch was also an employee of North Dakota State University,  I wrote a letter to the legal counsel of NDSU.  I enclosed copies of the texted death threats, as well as a copy of my letter to Joel Lemer and the NDSU Extension office.

That letter eventually ended up in the office of the North Dakota State Attorney General who replied (on July 27, 2015) that Melanie Hesch was NOT an employee of NDSU, that she was an employee of Foster County.  Therefore, NDSU's policies have nothing to do with this situation and  that it needed to be taken care of locally. 

I also received a phone call from Governor Dalrymple's office and a letter from Representative Chet Pollert who expressed the same opinion as the Attorney General -- that the issue needed to be handled by the appropriate personnel in Foster County.

Then I received another letter from the State Attorney General's office.  This time they enclosed a "Letter of Concern" which had been written by Joel Lemer to Melanie Hesch on July 21, 2015 - over a month and a half since the death threats took place and almost two weeks after I wrote a letter to his boss, NDSU.  Mr. Lemer basically told Ms. Hesch that she could no longer text personal messages or use Facebook during office hours, that she would have to do that during her breaks.

Does anyone besides me think that is a rather weak consequence for texting death threats during office hours, or during any time, for that matter?!!

Since I did not receive any kind of response from the letters I wrote to State's Attorney Paul Murphy or the state's attorney to whom he had given the case, I decided to appear before the Foster County Commission to find out if the County was going to do anything at all about the death threats. 

After all, I think the public has every right to know the facts about this situation.  As county taxpayers, we are paying the salary of Melanie Hesch, an employee who was texting death threats during her office hours when she was supposedly working on county business for us.

Watch the video to see the reactions of the commissioners and State's Attorney Paul Murphy.  Also, the meeting was taped by DakTel, so you can see the entire meeting on Channel 17 at various times during this week.

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