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Appeals court denies new trial in sexual assault case

WILLMAR -- The State Court of Appeals has denied a new trial for a 31-year-old Willmar man convicted of sexually assaulted a 6-year-old boy.

In an unpublished opinion issued Tuesday, the appeals court ruled that there was no prosecutorial misconduct in the May 2009 jury trial of Manuel De Jesus Diaz-Orellana. Therefore, he is not entitled to a new trial.

Diaz-Orellana was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a lesser-included second degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

He was sentenced in July 2009 to the presumptive sentence of 144 months in prison.

According to the State Department of Corrections, he's housed at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Faribault.

At his sentencing, Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell told the West Central Tribune that Diaz-Orellana was under a hold by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and will be deported to his home country of El Salvador when he has served his time.

In the appeal, Diaz-Orellana contended that his jury trial included several instances of prosecutorial misconduct, including portions of Crowell's closing argument to the jury.

The charges were filed in February 2009, after Willmar Police received a report from a man that his child had been sexually assaulted by Diaz-Orellana, who was a renter in the home.

The child told investigators, and testified during the trial, that had covered his eyes with a cloth and said they were going to play a game before assaulting him.

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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