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Hastings man charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct

A 60-year-old Hastings man, Steven James Rother, 60, who lives on Goodwin Avenue, faces two felony charges -- criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (sexual penetration) and criminal sexual conduct in the second degree -- after two children ages 10 and 13 reported to Dakota County deputies that he had touched them inappropriately.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged abuse to the 10-year-old occurred over a period of time beginning the summer of 2009. The alleged incidents occurred at several residences, including Rother's. She said similar abuse had occurred to the 13-year-old year child. Initially, the 13-year-old denied to the deputies that any inappropriate touching had occurred, but in a second interview, she said that the abuse had begun when she was 8 and continued for three years. It then stopped, but began again this past summer.

In a statement to deputies, Rother denied any wrongdoing, saying he only hugged them. Eventually, he admitted to sexually touching both victims.

Rother was arrested at his residence last week and transported to the Dakota County Jail. He was released on bond earlier this week.

An initial court date of Dec. 19 has been scheduled in Dakota County Court.