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Lindon Knutson

Man accused in attack of senior citizen waives omnibus hearing; pretrial date set for Feb. 22

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WILLMAR -- The Wisconsin sex offender accused of beating, sexually assaulting and robbing a 73-year-old woman at a church waived his right to an omnibus hearing Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court.

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A pretrial hearing was set for Feb. 22 for Lindon Roy Knutson, 61, who faces four felony charges: first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree aggravated robbery, third-degree assault and theft in connection to the Nov. 22 incident at the Crow River Lutheran Church in rural Belgrade.

Knutson, who lists a Bemidji address but has spent much of the last 30 years in Wisconsin prisons or institutions, is being held on $500,000 bail in the county jail.

According to Wisconsin Department of Human Services records, Knutson admitted to sexually assaulting nine juveniles, an adult woman and female prisoners of war while in Vietnam with the U.S. military, was sentenced to prison for raping a 17-year-old girl in St. Croix County, Wis., in 1975 and civilly committed in 1999 until released in March 2009. He was arrested by Beltrami County officials two weeks before the local incident and was charged with a felony for failing to comply with sex offender registration guidelines. He was released on a $2,500 bond three days later.

Five sisters of the 17-year-old girl, the victim in Knutson's first sexual assault conviction, traveled more than three hours to attend the short court hearing Tuesday.

"We want him locked up so this never happens to another person," one of the sisters said. The women seek not to be identified because of their sister.

One of the women used the Wisconsin sex offender Web site to track Knutson after he was released and as he moved from Rice Lake to Cameron, Wis. When his location was not available because he failed to report where he was living, she contacted state officials and local police departments.

In the local case, law enforcement was called to the church, about 5 miles south of Belgrade, on a report that a woman had been assaulted. A passerby had taken the woman to Paynesville Hospital. The woman gave officers a description of Knutson and his vehicle. She had given Knutson a tour of the church and directions to Bemidji before he physically and sexually assaulted her.

Knutson was arrested in Cosmos after the city's police chief stopped his vehicle for a traffic violation and realized Knutson and his car matched the descriptions given by the woman.

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