WORTHINGTON — A Worthington man has been charged with 11 felonies, eight of which involve alleged criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13, and three of which involve allegedly making a child inhale methamphetamine in his presence.

Slade James Kruse, 35, is charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct-penetration or contact (six counts), second degree criminal sexual conduct (two counts), storing chemical substances in the presence of a child, causing or permitting a child to ingest, inhale and be exposed to methamphetamine, and child endangerment by permitting the sale or possession of a controlled substance. Charges also include fifth degree drug possession, a gross misdemeanor.

Kruse was arrested following an Aug. 28 incident.

According to the criminal complaint, a child was discovered wandering around in pajamas on a Worthington street shortly after 3 a.m. Aug. 28. The child was taken to Sanford Worthington Hospital’s emergency room, where law enforcement officers learned from the child that Kruse allegedly forced the child to do drugs by smoking something brown from a pipe after it was burned by a torch.

Based on the child’s demeanor, officers believed the child was under the influence of a stimulant.

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The child also stated that a few days prior, Kruse forced them to lick something that looked like salt and then smoke it from a light bulb, according to the criminal complaint.

When law enforcement approached Kruse at his home, Kruse reportedly said the child was sleeping in the basement. They advised Kruse to go look, and when he returned to the driveway, he said the child was missing.

During a subsequent search of the home, officers observed a makeshift bedroom in the basement where the child allegedly slept. Reported to be in the room were dog feces and urine on the floor near a dirty box spring. Rotten food, garbage and cigarette butts were also seen on the floor, and an “extremely pungent odor of mold, rotten food, dog feces and urine” was noted in the report.

Also discovered in the house were several capped and uncapped hypodermic needles, several plastic baggies that appeared to contain methamphetamine residue, a glass meth pipe and a pen tube with meth residue. The pen tube, plastic baggies and homemade glass pipe later field-tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

Kruse allegedly told law enforcement that the child may test positive for marijuana but not meth, and denied forcing the child to smoke any drugs.

Following Kruse’s arrest on the drug charges, a forensic interview was conducted with the child. It was during the interview that the child disclosed alleged sexual abuse, detailing acts Kruse reportedly forced the child to take part in from November 2020 until the day of the arrest.

Upon completing the interview, the interviewer asked law enforcement if, during a search of the Kruse home for drugs, any sexual paraphernalia was found.

The criminal complaint states that a cedar chest was allegedly filled with pornography and sexual paraphernalia.

Kruse faces a maximum 144 months presumptive executed sentence on three of the first degree criminal sexual conduct charges; 30 years imprisonment and or a $40,000 fine on three other first degree criminal sexual conduct charges; 25 years and or a $35,000 fine on each of the two second degree criminal sexual conduct charges; five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine on each of the three felony drug counts; and one year in jail and or a $3,000 fine on the fifth-degree drug possession charge.

Kruse was released on Sept. 2 on conditions including that he have no contact with the child, do not possess alcohol or drugs, submit to chemical testing, do not leave Minnesota and to maintain contact with probation.

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.