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Former Willmar resident pleads to sex charge

WILLMAR -- A 32-year-old man from Brownsville, Texas, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for molesting an 8-year-old girl while his family lived in Willmar.

Renato Rodriguez entered an Alford plea to the charge in Kandiyohi County District Court. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but does admit there is likely enough evidence for a jury to convict him. As part of a plea agreement, three additional first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges will be dismissed. He will be sentenced July 21.

The plea was entered one day before Rodriguez was scheduled for a jury trial.

A police investigation began last June after a family services report indicated the girl had been sexually assaulted by Rodriguez during the summer and fall of 2008. The girl told an adult female relative that Rodriguez sexually touched her while her mother was busy doing household tasks.

The detective interviewed the adult relative, who confirmed the information, and reviewed the taped interview with the girl conducted by the Minnesota Child Resource Center.

The girl told investigators the sexual abuse happened in both Texas and Willmar.

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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