The Minnesota Freedom Fund, a bail fund that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) continues to fundraise for, contributed to the release of a man who is accused of raping an 8-year-old girl, the Daily Caller reported.
Harris began promoting the fund, which has existed since 2016, during the unrest in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25. Harris tweeted that she wanted people to donate in order to help bail out people arrested during the protests.
If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnes… https://t.co/Ni0yMyjD0F— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris)1591043641.0
The fund, which was promoted by other public figures, raised more than $35 million in the aftermath of Floyd's death, but has used only a small percentage of that money. A Sept. 4 statement on the MFF website said the group has spent about $3.4 million bailing people out, with only $210,000 of that being related to protests.
The Daily Caller found that some of those who have benefitted from the bail fund are accused of horrifying violent crimes and could present a threat to public safety.
Timothy Wayne Columbus is a 36-year-old man who was bailed out of Minneapolis jail in July. He is accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl in 2015 and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Court records show he signed a document saying that any refunded bail money should be returned to the MFF.
Court records reviewed by the Daily Caller reveal the appalling details of the accusation:
"Victim stated 'Tim' laid her on the couch and held her down as he unbuckled his pants and pulled down her pants. Victim stated he then 'put his thing inside me,'" the statement of probable cause read.
"Victim stated 'Tim' told her not to tell anyone and continued to penetrate her," the statement added.
Columbus was considered a friend of the victim's family but had abruptly stopped visiting the family around the time of the alleged assault, the statement said. The girl did not tell anyone about what happened until years later, according to the statement.
Columbus was already a registered sex offender for a separate incident before he was arrested for allegedly assaulting the 8-year-old.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund says they "do not make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed."
"We are, however, taking steps to strengthen our internal procedures for ensuring that those we bail out receive support, especially if they are in need of housing or medical treatment," an MFF statement reads. "Those processes involve renewing our commitment to listen to the communities directly impacted by our efforts, and ensuring those we bail out have the necessary support to safely return to their families and their community."