WORTHINGTON — Sexually explicit electronic conversations with a juvenile female while incarcerated at the Nobles County Jail aided in an investigation and ultimately six criminal sexual conduct charges against a Worthington man.

According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Nobles County District Court, Simon B. Gebrehiwot, 20, engaged in electronic communication that was sexual in nature with a 15-year-old girl on numerous occasions in August. Those communications took place while he was in jail for allegedly brandishing a BB gun at The Tap in Worthington and fleeing the scene.

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Text and video messages made between Gebrehiwot and the juvenile while he was at the Nobles County Jail were recovered. One message from Gebrehiwot to the juvenile said that he couldn’t have a sex case and requested that she deny everything so that he wouldn’t “get locked up” for their age difference.

In a post-Miranda interview with law enforcement in October, Gebrehiwot allegedly told officers he believed the girl to be 18 or 19 years old and denied having intercourse with her.

Gebrehiwot faces the following charges: third-degree criminal sexual conduct, victim aged 13-15; soliciting a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct; two counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child; and two counts of distribution of electronic communication material that relates to or describes sexual conduct to a child. All charges are felonies.

A review of Gebrehiwot’s criminal history indicates he was released from custody June 5 for an unrelated matter. He was arrested again on July 14 for brandishing a firearm at The Tap.

According to the complaint, Gebrehiwot is currently incarcerated at the St. Cloud prison.

The Southwest Crisis Center is available in our community to support and empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence. For questions about services or how you can help contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 800-376-4311 or mnswcc.org.