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Sexual Assault on Lake Wobegon Trail

07/29/2009 - 10:35 AM

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Sexual Assault on Lake Wobegon Trail

A 21-year-old Melrose man is being held in the Stearns County Jail for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. It happened just before 4:00 pm Tuesday on the Lake Wobegon Trail, just west of Melrose. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department says a 14-year-old girl was riding her bike along the trail when Benjamin Delacruz forced her into the ditch, where he sexually assaulted her.

Police say Delacruz left the area when another biker came by. The girl eventually borrowed another bikers’ cell phone and called 911. A responding deputy sheriff found Delacruz riding his bike eastbound on the trail. When the officer attempted to make an arrest, police say Delacruz broke away and ran into a cornfield. Area law enforcement officers monitored the perimeter, and another deputy found Delacruz emerging from the cornfield on the west side of Melrose. He was arrested without incident.

Delacruz faces first degree sexual conduct charges, which carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.

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