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Admission and twist in trial of kidnap, sexual assault of Fairfax teen newspaper carrier

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News Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

OLIVIA -- Matthew Thomas Fahey will admit and takes responsibility for the abduction and sexual assault of a 14-year-old newspaper carrier in Fairfax in Renville County on May 4, his attorney said in the opening arguments of his trial on Monday.

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But the 25-year-old defendant is not guilty of the "heinous" elements of those cr-imes that could greatly lengthen the prison sentence he faces if found guilty, his defense attorney Joseph Parise told the court.

District Judge Randall Slieter is hearing the case, and will be deciding whether Fahey is guilty on four different charges for the alleged abduction and assault.

If the court finds Fahey guilty, the judge must also determine whether "aggravating factors" were committed as part of the crime.

Fahey was a resident of Fairfax but was living in Marshall at the time of the arrest.

He has been held in the Renville County Jail since his arrest.

A grand jury issued indictments against Fahey for criminal sexual conduct; kidnapping to facilitate a felony; criminal sexual conduct in the first degree - fear of great bodily harm; and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree - causing injury and with the use of force or coercion.

In his opening arguments, prosecutor Glen Jacobsen, Renville County assistant attorney, described how the 14-year-old girl was stalked and abducted while doing her newspaper route shortly after 6 a.m. in Fairfax. At one point she pretended to use her cell phone in hopes it would cause the man in the silver-colored sedan to quit following her, according to Jacobsen.

The girl was forcibly abducted by Fahey and placed in his car, and driven on a "circuitous" route out of Fairfax and into Brown County, according to Jacobsen. Fahey struck her on the back of the head at one point, forcibly removed her clothing as he drove and then raped her on the grounds of a cemetery.

Jacobsen said she escaped later while the car was moving. Fahey had left her "in the middle of nowhere" and she had only some of her clothing. She saw Fahey throw the pieces of her cell phone from the car, she assembled it and called for help telling her mother and law officers: "I got away."

"This was a kidnapping and a rape," said Parise, but he said the crimes committed that morning were "void of any heinous elements."

According to Parise, the girl gave three inconsistent and implausible accounts of some of what happened. At one point she was asked whether she jumped out of the car while it was moving at 15 miles per hour or 50, and said it was 50.

He suggested that his client let her out of the car told the court that Fahey told the girl: "This is where you get out."

Fahey also told the girl where he would toss the cell phone and then did what he had told her, Parise argued. Fahey drove back to apologize to her, according to Parise. The defense attorney said Fahey was also using drugs that morning, smoking something out of a pop can, and not capable of full penetration at the time of the assault.

Testimony today will bring both the girl and her mother to the stand. The trial will continue through the week and could extend into the next two weeks.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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