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Bail set at $1M for the suspect in assault of Fairfax girl

OLIVIA -- Matthew Thomas Fahey, 25, of Marshall, entered no plea during his arraignment Thursday morning in District Court in Olivia.

He faces felony charges of criminal sexual predatory conduct, kidnapping, and two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abducting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

District Judge Randall Slieter ordered bail set at $1 million unconditional, and $500,000 conditional.

The conditions prohibit him from entering the city limits of Fairfax, where the alleged victim and her family live.

Renville County Attorney David Torgelson cited the "very serious nature of the charges'' and risk of flight in asking for the $1 million bail. Assistant Renville County Attorney Glen Jacobsen said after the proceedings that a bail amount of that size is only rarely requested and granted.

Fahey was represented by attorney Curt Reese with the Public Defender's Office.

The defendant's mother and the grandparents of the teenage girl were among those in the courtroom for the brief hearing.

Fahey has been held in the Renville County Jail since he was apprehended at his Marshall residence on Tuesday, only hours after the alleged assault. He had allegedly followed the girl as she delivered newspapers before 7 a.m. in Fairfax, and used his car to block her path. He forced her into his car, threatened her life and drove her to a cemetery in Brown County before sexually assaulting her, according to the criminal complaint.

She escaped by jumping out of the moving car. He had taken her cell phone apart and tossed it out of the car; she put it back together and called for help.

Renville County Sheriff Jerry Agre said the girl was able to give authorities very detailed information on the incident that made it possible for them to quickly apprehend the suspect. He said the girl and her family are managing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

The girl did not know Fahey, but he knew her family, according to Jacobsen. Fahey grew up in Fairfax and was staying with a family member at the time of the alleged assault. He told the court his permanent residence is in Marshall.

He was convicted in January for a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge in Brown County. The charge was filed last August after seven women reported allegations that Fahey had either followed them, exposed himself or performed a lewd act, according to a report from Fox News in the Twin Cities.

Fahey also has a lengthy criminal record for offenses ranging from burglary and theft to marijuana possession in several counties.

Renville County authorities have had limited previous contact with Fahey, and none of the prior criminal incidents there involved allegations of sexual misconduct. He's faced charges of marijuana possession and burglary in Renville County.

In January the county had contact with him in a suspected impaired driving incident, and law enforcement received a phone call that he was following a female in Wabasso in Redwood County, according to the sheriff.

Assistant Attorney Jacobsen said they have executed warrants to search the Fahey's car, his home and person and that they are still early in the investigation process.

The charges against Fahey carry possible sentences of 30 to 50 years in prison.

He is currently in the Renville County Jail.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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