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Sex charges dismissed against Bobadilla


WILLMAR -- Criminal sexual conduct charges against Orlando Manuel Bobadilla, 30, of Willmar, have been dismissed -- ending a nearly eight-year le-gal saga that began in June 2003.

Bobadilla had been charged with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old boy. According to the dismissal, the child's mother "has determined that to face another trial would unacceptably traumatize and revictimize her son" and therefore, the boy would not be accessible or available for trial.

The dismissal was filed Dec. 30 in Kandiyohi County District Court by prosecutor Connie Crowell of the Kandiyohi County Attorney's Office.

A search of the state Department of Corrections offender database finds no listing for Bobadilla.

Bobadilla was originally charged and convicted of first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in October 2003.

His conviction was overturned by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2004, but was later upheld by the state Supreme Court in a February 2006 decision.

In July 2008, a United States District Court judge granted Bobadilla's petition for writ of habeas corpus and vacated his conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case in January 2009.

That decision returned the case back to district court, where Bobadilla's attorney, Lynne Torgerson, had sought a change of venue because of media coverage of the years of state and federal appeals court decisions left a prejudiced jury pool in the county.

The legal action in the case is part of the court system's wrangling with the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Crawford v. Washington, which addresses a defendant's right to directly cross-examine witnesses.

Part of the evidence introduced by the prosecution during the Bobadilla trial was a videotaped interview of the child by a county social worker, plus testimony from the child's mother and the social worker about the child's statements about the sexual assault. The child never testified in open court.

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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