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Man charged with criminal sexual conduct

WINDOM -- A former Mountain Lake resident is facing four criminal sexual conduct felonies more than two years after the incidents took place, according to a complaint filed in Cottonwood County District Court.

Vincent Warren Pederson, 72, of St. James, is accused of sexually abusing a relative of his former wife several times in July and November of 2009. He is charged with one first-degree and three second-degree counts of criminal sexual conduct against a child who was approximately 7 years old at the time.

The complaint states a man contacted the Mountain Lake Police Department in March 2010 to report his daughter had been sexually assaulted in November by a male, but gave very little detail. Police Chief Douglas Bristow spoke with the father several times over the next few months in an attempt to gain more information and allow his office to interview the child.

In September 2010, Bristow received a report from the child's therapist that identified at least two separate occasions in which the child had revealed repeated sexual abuse by Pederson that included fondling over and under clothing and oral sex. The father had told the therapist he had walked into a bedroom and found Pederson and his daughter lying on a bed together.

During therapy, the child indicated Pederson did the things he did because he loved her.

The therapist spoke with Pederson, who allegedly stated he recalled several incidences of sexual contact with the child while she and her parents were visiting. He said the child put her hand on him, and claimed he asked her to stop. He said there were several instances of the child kissing him or taking his hand to have him touch her.

He stated the girl said he was her boyfriend and it was their secret. He allegedly admitted to fondling her over and under her clothing.

In October 2010, Bristow spoke with Pederson's ex-wife, who said she had divorced him as a result of the allegations. She acknowledged the child had been visiting them at the times the girl had claimed, and admitted she thought it odd when Pederson took an entire week off when learning they were coming to visit.

She also said during one visit the child's father had approached while she was making dinner and said the two were in bed. He told her to get Pederson out of the bed. She went into the room and found them lying on the bed fully dressed. The ex-wife admitted she had found his behavior toward another young relative of hers to be strange.

In April 2012, Bristow received an email containing two files from the girl's father. He indicated he had spoken to Pederson, and Pederson had admitted he had abused the girl.

Pederson, whose conditions of release include no contact with anyone under the age of 18, is scheduled to make an initial appearance Monday in Cottonwood County District Court.