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Willmar man pleads to one count of criminal sexual conduct

WILLMAR — A Willmar man pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal sexual conduct related to allegations he tried to have sex with a now-14-year-old girl.

Christopher Michael Cox, 40, pleaded guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court to a second-degree felony charge of criminal sexual conduct. He was originally charged with three additional felonies: first-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

District Judge David Mennis on Tuesday ordered a pre-sentence investigation and a psycho-sexual evaluation. Sentencing is expected in late April.

Cox remains in custody in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $100,000 unconditional bail or $60,000 bail with conditions.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began on Sept. 6 after Willmar police were informed by Kandiyohi County Family Services that a 14-year-old girl had been assaulted. The girl was interviewed the same day and said that Cox had attempted to have intercourse with her in the summer of 2012.

A relative to the girl said that the girl had told her about the incident the day before and that she had been uneasy around Cox, as he made jokes about sex with the girl, but then said he was joking.

Cox was interviewed and adamantly denied contact with the girl and said that he had made no such jokes about her.

On Nov. 12, Cox voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination administered by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the Willmar Law Enforcement Center.

Cox was interviewed by a local detective after the polygraph was completed and allegedly admitted that he had failed the test, that he had sexual contact with the girl during the incident and that he did make jokes about sex with the girl.

— Tribune staff writer Gretchen

Schlosser contributed to this story.

Susan Lunneborg
Susan Lunneborg is news editor of the West Central Tribune. She joined the staff in Willmar in 1999 and has been a newspaper journalist for more than 20 years. She can be reached directly at the email linked here, but for the most timely response, please send news releases to the Tribune's general news email:
(320) 235-1150