Convicted sex offender faces new charge

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A 21-year-old Albert Lea man who has already been convicted in two prior cases of criminal sexual conduct with minors was charged in Freeborn County District Court on Tuesday with a third criminal sexual conduct charge — this one worse than his previous two.

According to court records, Lorenzo Martin Torres faces one felony count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, including penetration or sexual contact with a person under 13, stemming from an alleged incident in April at the Countryside Inn Motel in Albert Lea.

Torres, of 406 E. Fifth St., was previously convicted of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor, in 2008, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person age 13 to 15, a felony, earlier this year.

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Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said if Torres is convicted of the new charge, he would be required to serve a presumptive sentence of 168 months in prison. Torres is currently on probation with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Freeborn County Court Services.

In court Tuesday, Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab set Torres’ unconditional bail at $750,000 and his conditional bail at $500,000.

Though Torres likely will not be able to post bail, Schwab set conditions to include obeying the law, reporting to court services, not leaving the state without prior consent, having no contact with the alleged victims, having no mood-altering chemicals or alcohol, and being subject to random testing, among others.

Torres requested a bail study to see if a less-severe bail may be recommended.

Court records state the alleged victim, who was 12 at the time of the reported incident, and her mother came to the Freeborn County Law Enforcement Center on Monday to report the incident to authorities. The alleged conduct reportedly took place in April when the girl had stayed overnight with a friend at the Countryside Inn Motel.

During an interview with Albert Lea Police Department detective Frank Kohl, the girl stated she and her friend were alone in the room, when her friend invited Torres — who they both knew — to come to the room.

They both initially watched TV with him; however, after the girl’s friend went into the bathroom to take a shower, Torres allegedly began touching the girl inappropriately and reportedly had sexual intercourse with her, according to court documents.

The girl told her friend about what happened after Torres left at about 3 a.m.

Court records state Kohl contacted the Countryside Inn Motel and confirmed that the friend’s mother had rented a room in the motel from April 19 through 25.

The first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.

Torres is scheduled to appear on the charge on June 14 at 1 p.m.

Nelson said the investigation into the matter is ongoing.

An additional charge against Torres related to a fourth alleged victim is pending.