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Man faces charges for assaulting woman at bar, in alley

WILLMAR -- A 51-year-old Willmar man is being held on $750,000 unconditional bail for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman Tuesday at and near the Eagles Club in Willmar.

Jose Santoya Juarez faces five felony charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and third-degree assault. He made his first appearance Thursday on the charges in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Unconditional bail was set at $400,000.

His next appearance is Aug. 9.

According to the complaint, Willmar police officers were dispatched around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday to the 600 block of Litchfield Avenue Southwest, regarding a woman heard screaming. Officers found an adult woman who was being helped by a male friend. She told officers she had been assaulted by a middle-aged, Latino male.

The woman said that the man, later identified as Juarez, had earlier grabbed her breast and attempted to touch her groin area and had also done similar things to another woman at the Eagles Club. Juarez had been told by the bar staff to leave. He had left the bar but later allegedly grabbed the woman as she stepped out the back door to smoke a cigarette.

The woman told police Juarez grabbed her, took her into an alley, pinned her to the ground, covered her mouth, smacked her head against the concrete and caused her to black out for a few moments. She said Juarez then attempted to pull her clothing off, exposed his genitals and demanded oral sex. The woman continued to scream at Juarez and yell for help until the friend and others came and pulled Juarez off her.

The woman had managed to push the "talk to talk" button on her cell phone, allowing her friend to hear her screaming and come to her assistance.

Juarez was detained nearby, along Pacific Avenue, and was taken into custody soon after the incident. He was positively identified by the woman and several witnesses.

County Attorney Boyd Beccue complimented the citizens who heard the woman's screams and called law enforcement.

"There were some fast-acting citizens who heard and saw what was happening and intervened," he said. "It takes courage for citizens to act."

According to Tribune archives, Juarez was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in October 1997 for raping an acquaintance who was working at a Willmar group home for people with mental disabilities. He received a four-year prison sentence, which was stayed, and a fine, 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.

Juarez was also charged with first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in July 2004, on allegations he molested an 11-year-old girl. Those charges were dismissed because the key witness in the case moved out of state.

He also has convictions for possessing a dangerous weapon without a permit, also in 1997, a fifth-degree assault conviction in March 2002 and a disorderly conduct conviction arising out of a domestic situation in March 2009.

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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