Olivia teen found incompetent to stand trial in day care molestation case


GRANITE FALLS – Trent Uhlenkamp, the Olivia teen accused of molesting children at his mother’s day care, has been found incompetent to stand trial on the charges.

Uhlenkamp, 17, faces three felony charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly touching a young girl in her vaginal area. Court proceedings are public for juveniles 16 and 17 who face felony charges.

Court records in the Renville County case indicate that at least four children told investigators about Uhlenkamp touching them, changing clothes in front of them or making them touch him.

At a court hearing Monday morning, District Judge Dwayne Knutsen determined that Uhlenkamp was “unable to understand the process and participate in his defense” based on the conclusions of a psychological evaluation.

Uhlenkamp reportedly has developmental delays. The ruling effectively ends the juvenile court proceedings.


Knutsen ordered the Monday hearing closed to the public for discussion of the evaluation, because Uhlenkamp is a juvenile and the hearing would involve sensitive medical issues.

Knutsen gave both attorneys time to make comments after the courtroom was reopened. The hearing was conducted at the Yellow Medicine County Courthouse in Granite Falls.

According to defense attorney Jay W. Liedman, the psychologist who interviewed him found that Uhlenkamp had only a vague understanding of the courts through watching TV. “He couldn’t understand the concept of settlement negotiations,” Liedman said.

“He was not able to hold in his mind a number of factors,” he added, including the difference between a trial and a settlement.

Renville County Attorney David Torgelson said he would concede that Uhlenkamp had “some intellectual limits” but believed Uhlenkamp could be educated to become competent to participate in a trial.

The next step will be a study of options for treatment for Uhlenkamp, either through a Child in Need of Protection or Services petition or a civil commitment.

Knutsen referred the issue to the Renville County Human Services Department where evaluation teams could review the case and recommend a course of action. Knutsen gave Liedman and Torgelson two weeks to comment on the recommendation.

Uhlenkamp’s mother, Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp, 45, faces four charges: one gross misdemeanor count of failing to report the alleged abuse of two or more children to law enforcement and three gross misdemeanor counts of child neglect – knowingly permitting the continued physical or sexual abuse of three different alleged victims.


As a licensed daycare operator, Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp was legally required to report abuse, but she did not. Her license has been suspended. Her next court appearance is set for July 15.

According to court records, the mother of at least one of the alleged victims contacted the Renville County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 28 after she was told of alleged abuse. Trent Uhlenkamp was arrested a few days later.

An interviewer with specialized training spoke with the woman’s daughters in separate interviews. One girl said Uhlenkamp had asked her to take off his pants and touch his “privates,” but she refused. She said he had touched her vaginal area.

The other girl said Uhlenkamp would change his underwear in front of the young girls at the day care.

Authorities interviewed other children who attended the day care. Many did not report abuse, but at least two others did, according to court records.

The alleged abuse described in the court records included touching of the child’s “private parts” and trying to kiss one of the children, undressing in front of the children at the day care and punching and hitting of one of the children.

One child said fear made the child do whatever Uhlenkamp asked. The child also said he would get mad if the children refused to do what he said.

All four of the children told law enforcement that they told Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp about the alleged abuse, the complaint states.


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