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Willmar man faces felony charge in sexual assault case

WILLMAR -- Manuel Antonio Leiva-Pineda, 27, of Willmar, made his first appearance Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman Sunday morning at an apartment building.

Unconditional bail was set at $150,000. His next appearance is March 15.

According to the complaint, Willmar Police were called to Dana Heights Apartments complex, 1500 15th St. S.E., around 3 a.m. Sunday. A woman there reported she'd been sexually assaulted. She was taken to the emergency room at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

Another woman reported she and the alleged victim had seen Leiva-Pineda at a local night club and he'd given them a ride to the apartment complex. She said he'd asked if he could have sex with both of them and 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 alleged victim told her she'd been assaulted.

Officers interviewed the victim at the hospital, where she reported Leiva-Pineda had pulled her into a bedroom, shut off the lights and closed the door. She said he sexually assaulted her, even as she told him not to.

Leiva-Pineda was then arrested. During an interview, he denied having sexual relations with anyone. He consented to DNA swabs.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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