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Elderly man found incompetent for trial in Kandiyohi County molestation case

George Austin

WILLMAR — An elderly man charged with molesting a young girl about 20 years ago in a camper in rural Spicer has been found not competent to proceed to trial.

An examiner's report filed in Kandiyohi County District Court said George Austin, 82, of Columbia, Kentucky, is not capable of "rationally consulting with his attorney, nor has the mental capacity to fundamentally understand the nature of adversarial legal proceedings."

Judge Michael Thompson's order, dated Jan. 31, directed the Kandiyohi County Attorney's office to begin commitment proceedings against Austin. The criminal proceedings have been suspended for three years or until Austin is determined to be competent to go to trial, whichever comes first.

Austin is charged with two felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for molesting a girl in the summer of 1997 or 1998 at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on Green Lake. The girl was between the ages of 8 and 10 years old.

According to court documents, the girl reported the alleged abuse in February 2017.

Austin allegedly picked up a leather belt and told her she needed to do as he said, or he would beat her with the belt. According to the criminal complaint, the girl told deputies he forced her to engage in an oral sex act and penetrated her with his finger. Afterward, the girl said Austin told her she'd done a good job. He told her it was to be their secret, "because if anyone else knew it would make them jealous," according to the court file.