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Pipestone youth group leader charged with criminal sexual conduct

Edgerton male reportedly engaged in a sexual relationship with the victim in 2015.

Photo151125 Corey Vanessen.jpg
Vanessen
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Editor’s note: To protect the victim’s identity, the victim is identified by the pronoun ‘they.’ All uses of ‘they/them’ should be understood as a singular person.

PIPESTONE — A youth group leader for the Pipestone Christian Reformed Church has been charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the criminal complaint, Corey Vanessen, 38, engaged in sexual contact with a child under the age of 16, while more than 48 months older and in a position of authority over the victim.

On June 7, the Pipestone County Sheriff's Office received a report from an individual, stating that Vanessen had engaged in a sexual relationship with them in 2015. The victim was 14 years old at the time.

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The victim recounted instances of sexual contact by Vanessen, including a time in March 2015 when Vanessen went to the victim’s house. While there, Vanessen had the victim remove items of clothing and engaged in sexual contact with the victim.

A search warrant was executed at Vanessen’s Edgerton residence on June 9, and police officers informed Vanessen they were investigating a sexual assault from between 2014 and 2015. After receiving a Miranda warning, Vanessen reportedly told officers he had gotten “a little too close” with a teenager at his church.

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Vanessen stated he had met the victim through Youth Group at Pipestone Christian Reformed Church in Pipestone, where he and his wife were group leaders. According to the complaint, Vanessen admitted to going to the victim’s house and engaging in sexual contact with the victim.

During the search of Vanessen’s residence, law enforcement discovered a short-barreled shotgun. Along with the criminal sexual conduct charges, Vanessen also faces a felony charge for possession of a prohibited firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or both.

Vanessen is scheduled to make his initial court appearance June 21 in Pipestone County Fifth District Court. Bail was set at $75,000 with conditions, and Vanessen is to have no contact with the victim.

If convicted of the criminal sexual conduct charges, Vanessen faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment and/or a $35,000 fine for each charge.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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