Willmar man pleads to lesser charge in sexual assault case; sentencing scheduled next month
WILLMAR -- Manuel Antonio Leiva-Pineda, 27, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to an amended charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for sexually assaulting a woman Feb. 28 at a Willmar apartment building.
As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, the charge was reduced from a third-degree charge. Leiva-Pineda will be sentenced to no further executed jail time so he may be turned over to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Leiva-Pineda entered an Alford plea to the charge. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but admits there is likely enough evidence for a conviction.
He will be sentenced July 27.
The charge was filed after Willmar police officers were called to Dana Heights Apartments complex, 1500 15th St. S.E., around 3 a.m. Feb. 28.
A woman there re-ported she'd been sexually assaulted.
She was taken to the emergency room at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.
Another woman reported she and the victim had received a ride from Leiva-Pineda to the apartment complex after they left a local night club.
The woman said Leiva-Pineda asked if he could have sex with both of them and that they declined his offer.
The woman said she'd left with a third woman to get cigarettes from a convenience store and that when she returned from the store, the victim informed her that she'd been assaulted.
Officers interviewed the victim at the hospital, where she reported Leiva-Pineda had pulled her into a bedroom, turned off the lights and closed the door.
She said he sexually assaulted her, even as she told him not to.