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Worthington man charged in reported Windom sexual assault of a child younger than 14

Monterroso Merida faces two felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

(Monterroso Merida, Hugo Alexander
Monterroso Merida
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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.

WINDOM — A Worthington man has been charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for reportedly engaging in sexual contact with a child under the age of 14.

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On April 28, an investigator with the Windom Police Department received a report regarding a sexual assault believed to have taken place at the Windom Business Arts & Recreation Center.

The reporting party stated they had witnessed a child in a state of undress in an off-limits area. When the reporting party attempted to speak with the child, they proceeded to dress, collect two piles of clothing, and exit the room. The reporting party observed an older male enter the room and ask where his clothes were.

After being identified by a class instructor, law enforcement spoke with the child and, on June 6, they completed a forensic interview at Child’s Voice. During this interview, the victim stated they had been contacted via Snapchat by a man later identified as Hugo Alexander Monterroso Merida, 27, who had claimed to be 18. He had asked the victim to meet up, but they did not want to.

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While at the BARC, the victim received a Snapchat from Monterroso Merida stating he was there. The victim stated they didn’t know how Monterroso Merida knew they were there.

They walked around with Monterroso Merida, until he located a room on the third floor that was unlocked and proceeded to drag the victim inside by the arm.

The victim stated Monterroso Merida removed their clothes and sexually assaulted them, despite numerous protests from the victim. At several points, the victim recounted being held in place or grabbed by Monterroso Merida while they attempted to get away or make him stop.

The victim provided a description of Monterroso Merida, as well as his Snapchat username and messages to the investigator. Law enforcement provided the description to a possible employer and was given Monterroso Merida's name. The Worthington Police Department reported receiving numerous reports of Monterroso Merida following 13- to 15-year-old girls in his vehicle and asking to give them rides to school.

During a photo lineup, the victim identified Monterroso Merida as the person who had sexually assaulted them at the BARC. Monterroso Merida was arrested and given a Miranda statement. He reportedly admitted to law enforcement to having sexual contact with the victim.

Bail was set at $50,000 with conditions and Monterroso Merida is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on June 21. If convicted, Monterroso Merida faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $40,000 fine or both for each of the criminal sexual conduct counts.

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 .

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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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