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Teen pleads not guilty to sexual assault at Granite motel

MONTEVIDEO -- A 19-year-old Marshall man pleaded not guilty Monday to four felony criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in December at a Granite Falls hotel.

William Robert Sturgeon faces two first- and two third-degree charges in Chippewa County District Court. In addition to entering the not guilty plea, Sturgeon also waived his opportunity for an omnibus hearing during the Monday court appearance, according to County Attorney David Gilbertson. A pretrial hearing and two-day jury trial will now be set for Sturgeon.

John Paul Reyes Jr., 20, of Hanley Falls, faces the same four charges as Sturgeon. His next court appearance is Sept. 30.

According to the complaints against Sturgeon and Reyes, Granite Falls police officers were called around 3:45 a.m. Dec. 23 regarding a sexual assault at the Scenic Valley Motel. An officer met a woman later the same day and learned that the woman and friends had been drinking and celebrating a birthday at the motel on the night of Dec. 22.

She said the group had moved to Reyes' apartment and continued drinking. The woman's friends left and then the men allegedly assaulted her. The woman said she left the apartment and called another person for help. A sexual assault evidence kit was gathered from the woman and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension matched DNA from the kit to a DNA sample from Sturgeon.

Sturgeon was interviewed on April 5 and allegedly admitted to being at the motel and having intercourse with the woman. He said it was consensual.

Reyes was also interviewed and said his sexual contact with the woman was consensual.

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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