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Hussong to accept plea in criminal sexual conduct case

JACKSON -- Arnold Hussong and the state of Minnesota have reached an agreement in a first-degree criminal sexual conduct case stemming from an incident that allegedly took place at Hussong's home in Okabena.

Hussong, who will be 91 years old in June, was accused in August of molesting an 11-year-old girl in his home.

According to Jackson County Attorney Robert O'Connor, an agreement was reached Monday, and Hussong is scheduled to plead guilty at 2:30 p.m. April 13 in Jackson County District Court. His sentencing is scheduled for mid-May.

O'Connor was not willing to discuss the terms of the plea agreement before the scheduled hearing.

Hussong was arrested last summer after the victim was brought home by a neighbor, crying and upset. The girl stated Hussong had dragged her into a bedroom in his house, tied her up and molested her.

During an interview at Child's Voice in Sioux Falls, S.D., the child said she was gardening with Hussong at his residence, and then went inside with him to watch TV. She told the interviewer Hussong threatened to kill her if she told anyone what had happened.

When authorities interviewed Hussong, he allegedly admitted he had gone too far with the girl, claiming he has a very loving nature and shares his love with people, the complaint states.

Just two weeks ago, Hussong pleaded not guilty to the charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and terroristic threats. At the time, defense attorney Michael Kirchner told Judge Linda Titus his client was interested in a plea agreement offered by the state, but they had not had enough time to discuss the proposal.

At the same hearing, O'Connor asked for a speedy trial, citing his concern for public safety.

"The weather is warming up and he gardens," O'Connor explained later. "There are a lot of kids in the area and they will be out moving around."

He also said he had discussed the agreement with the victim and her family, and they were in agreement with the offer.