Restraining orders granted for distributing photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s family

A judge in Dakota County granted a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) today against three people, including Dede Evavold, for their roles in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online.

The HROs were filed by Michael Brodkorb and Sarah Brodkorb in Dakota County against Diane Ristau of Medford, Carrie Beaudette of St. Joseph, and Dede Evavold of St. Cloud.

The photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children was distributed multiple times with false allegations on a social media account connected to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters.

The same social media account had been investigated by law enforcement for publishing threatening, harassing, and defamatory statements targeting judges, law enforcement, court staff, and journalists.

The HROs remain in effect until August 30, 2020. 

Brodkorb’s family secretly photographed while shopping, photograph later distributed online

Diane Ristau of Medford, Minnesota, secretly took a photograph of Ms. Brodkorb and her minor children.

According to a police report from the Eagan Police Department, Brodkorb and his wife contacted police on the evening of August 13, 2018, after discovering that a photograph of Ms. Brodkorb shopping with their minor children was being distributed by a social media account connected to Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters.

The following week, the Eagan Police Department interviewed staff at the store where Ms. Brodkorb was shopping with her minor children at the time the photograph was taken. Police later determined that the photograph was taken by Diane Ristau.

Ristau was contacted by the Eagan Police Department and she told police she heard Ms. Brodkorb say his name while she was making a purchase at the register. Ristau stepped out of line and took a photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children. Ristau told police she only sent the photograph to her friend, Carrie Beaudette, to inquire “if it was the same Brodkorb family.”

The Eagan Police Department later spoke with Beaudette, who confirmed she sent the photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children to Evavold to ask “if this was Michael’s wife.”

Beaudette told police she only sent the photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children to Evavold. The Eagan Police Department attempted to contact Evavold, leaving her “multiple voicemails.” Evavold did return one call, but the police report states that “it appears” Evavold has ceased contacting police to discuss the investigation.

Ristau lives in Medford, Minnesota, with her husband Mark, who is the superintendent of the Medford public schools.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ristau is the Vice President of Recruitment with SomethingNew Talent Acquisition. Ristau is also the Vice President of Learning & Development at ROI, Inc, which is a casino marketing company. Beaudette’s LinkedIn profile also lists her employer as ROI, Inc.

Photograph of Brodkorb’s wife and minor children sent to supporters of Grazzini-Rucki

Carrie Beaudette, right, walks with Dede Evavold into the Dakota County Courthouse in Hastings, Minnesota in September 2017.

Beaudette is friends with both Grazzini-Rucki and Evavold. Beaudette has attended numerous court hearings for Evavold, including portions of her criminal trial, and other civil proceedings related to an HRO granted by a court to protect David Rucki and his family from Evavold’s continued harassment.

In July 2016, Grazzini-Rucki was convicted on six counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her daughters. This past June, Beaudette assisted Grazzini-Rucki in filing court documents related to an ongoing child-support dispute involving Grazzini-Rucki and her ex-husband.

Beaudette has previously contacted Brodkorb on social media about his reporting on Missing in Minnesota.

Judge called Evavold’s harassment of Rucki family ‘evil’

Last month, a judge in Dakota County upheld the HRO requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Evavold, describing Evavold’s threatening behavior toward the Rucki family as “evil.”

“In the 34+ years the undersigned has served as a District or Senior Judge, never have I seen a case that represents harassment most evil,” wrote Judge Philip Kanning in his order released yesterday. “The Respondent’s actions have been intended to terrify, threaten and invade the privacy of the Petitioner and his minor children,” adding Judge Kanning.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha Rucki and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home on Lakeville by their mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.

Evavold’s criminal trial for harassment of Rucki family scheduled for October

Evavold was charged in September 2017 with three criminal counts of violating the HRO.

Her criminal trial for her repeated HRO violations was scheduled to be held last month, but the trial was postponed to allow for Judge Kanning’s decision to dismiss or uphold the HRO. Since Judge Kanning upheld the HRO, Evavold’s criminal trial has been scheduled for October 15, 2018.

Evavold’s connection to Ristau is unknown at this time.

But Ristau’s photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children which was published on the same social media account connected to Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters could aid law enforcement in their investigation into the threatening, harassing, and defamatory statements posted online.

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