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Appeals court upholds Montevideo man’s sex conviction

MONTEVIDEO — The state Court of Appeals has upheld the criminal sexual conduct conviction of a 23-year-old Montevideo man serving a 13-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Clara City.

In an unpublished opinion issued Tuesday, the court found that there was enough evidence to convict Steven Jon Lynn Horton in the 2012 case.

According to the state Department of Corrections, Horton is currently housed at a non-Department of Corrections facility and his expected release date is in February 2021.

Horton was found guilty of the first-degree charge and also second-degree count of criminal sexual conduct by a Chippewa County jury in August 2012 and was sentenced in November 2012.

As part of Horton’s sentence handed down by District Judge Dwayne Knutsen, he was ordered to serve a 10-year conditional release period after his prison sentence and to register as a predatory offender.

Horton had argued that the district court erred in its response to jury questions during deliberations, erred by admitting hearsay evidence and erred by not admitting evidence of the girl’s past allegations of sexual abuse. Horton also argued that the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct.

The appeals court did not find merit in those arguments.

Knutsen denied a motion for a new trial or an acquittal in the case after Horton’s supporters, including his spouse — who is also the mother of the girl — and other family members, picketed outside the Yellow Medicine County Courthouse protesting his conviction.

Horton was also sentenced on four additional felony charges in Chippewa County and Swift County cases. He was sentenced to 27, 25, 22 and 17 months in prison on three counts of motor vehicle theft and theft, for incidents that occurred in June 2012. All of the sentences are to be served concurrently, or simultaneously, with the criminal sexual conduct sentence.  

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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