Judge refuses to grant new trial in sex assault case

Published 3:07 pm Saturday, December 26, 2015

OWATONNA — A judge has refused to grant a new trial for a former hotel manager convicted of sexually assaulting a teen employee.

Steele County District Court Judge Karen Duncan issued an order Dec. 17 denying Matthew Swenson’s attorneys’ claims his September trial was marred by multiple mistakes.

They alleged Duncan should have redacted portions of a police interview with Swenson, excluded hotel surveillance video from evidence and allowed text messages from the victim to Swenson before the assault into evidence, among other mistakes.

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Duncan said the defense failed to show the errors occurred and that the mistakes would have hurt Swenson’s right to a fair trial.

Swenson is set to be sentenced on Feb. 3.