WORTHINGTON ― A Worthington resident will spend 48 months in state prison after being convicted of the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl.

Bayron Perez Rodriguez,19, was arrested last year after it was reported that he had raped a young girl who subsequently became pregnant.

At his arrest, Perez Rodriguez told law enforcement that he had known that his behavior was wrong. He was charged with both first-and second-degree criminal sexual conduct and incest. He pleaded guilty to the second-degree charge, with the others dismissed. Perez Rodriguez appeared for his sentencing Monday morning.

Lawyers on both sides of the case explained that the 48-month sentence is a downward durational departure, meaning that state sentencing guidelines actually recommend a longer sentence. Assistant Nobles County Attorney Roland Henry stated that the reasons for the departure are Perez Rodriguez's age (he was 18 at the time of his arrest) and his lack of criminal history. Defense attorney Louis Kuchera added that "Mr. Perez Rodriguez did take responsibility for his inappropriate behaviors" and that by pleading guilty, he had spared the victim the need to testify at trial.

Before pronouncing Perez Rodriguez's sentence, Fifth Judicial Judge Christina Wietzema told him, "You deserve every day and month in prison that you will be sentenced to. This crime was a horrific crime, and you will be locked up for a long period of time."

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Perez Rodriguez is to serve 48 months in prison, with credit for 347 days previously served. After completing his sentence, Perez Rodriguez is to be on conditional release for 10 years. He must register as a predatory offender.

The victim's family has not yet requested restitution, but has 30 days to do so.

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 1-800-376-4311 or mnswcc.org.