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Area man pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct

WORTHINGTON -- Mark Bernard Silvrants, charged with criminal sexual conduct in two counties, pleaded guilty in both Tuesday.

In Nobles County, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. In Jackson County, he pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The charges in the two counties stem from the same case, in which Silvrants was accused of having sexual contact with a high school student with mental impairments while in the position of being her mentor. The charges were filed in two counties because the contact took place in both.

The complaint states Silvrants initially denied any inappropriate contact with the girl, but later admitted to several instances of contact.

Silvrants and his wife became the girl's mentors at their suggestion, the girl's mother said. She would meet with the couple to discuss school activities.

The victim told authorities that having the Silvrants as mentors meant they "point her to go in the right direction." After seeing some suggestive text message Silvrants had sent to the girl, her brother informed their parents, who contacted authorities.

Sentencing in both cases will take place after a presentence investigation has been completed, along with a psycho-sexual evaluation.

According to the Minnesota public access court document Web site, sentencing has been scheduled in Nobles County for 11 a.m. March 7, but has not yet been scheduled in Jackson County.