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Former Duluth man charged in 2003 sexual assault of teen

Then 24, the suspect allegedly pushed the boy into some bushes and forced him to participate in a sexual act while claiming he had a knife.

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DULUTH — A Utah man is facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy he encountered on a Duluth street nearly 20 years ago.

Kane Lee Brent, 43, of suburban Salt Lake City, was charged by summons last week with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the April 2003 incident in the Chester Park area.

The case came as a result of the Duluth Police Department's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which has reopened old, unsolved cases and led to renewed DNA testing , as supported by a federal grant.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim reported that he was walking near 16th Avenue East and Eighth Street shortly before 8:30 p.m. on April 1, 2003, when a man pushed him into the bushes and indicated he had a knife. The boy described the suspect as approximately 16-20 years old and seemingly intoxicated.

The suspect took the 13-year-old's portable CD player and said he would only return it if the victim engaged in oral sex, the complaint states. The boy told officers he tried to push the man away, but was too scared to stop him because of the knife threat.

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Eventually, a passing car startled the suspect and the victim was able to push him away and run out of the bushes, the complaint states. The boy was unable to get the car to stop but did get to a house across the street and asked a resident to call 911.

The victim was taken to a local hospital, where a sexual assault evidence kit was administered. But the evidence was not sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory for testing until more recently, according to the complaint.

Authorities said a search of the state's convicted offender DNA database identified Brent as a possible contributor. Duluth police investigators Paige Grenier and John Barrett then traveled to Grantsville, Utah, to meet with him in late July.

Brent acknowledged that he lived in Duluth in 2003 but denied ever sexually assaulting the boy, the complaint states. He agreed to submit a new DNA sample, which was again analyzed by the BCA. It allegedly was consistent with a swab recovered from the victim's body in 2003, with 99.99% of the general population able to be excluded as contributors.

Brent, who was 24 at the time of the alleged offense, has been summoned to make his initial appearance in State District Court in Duluth via remote technology on Dec. 15.

He faces a presumptive prison sentence if convicted, with a first-time offender expected to receive at least 12 years for the charge.

Minnesota court records show that Brent, who legally changed his name from Jonathan Michael Wilson in 1999, was convicted of theft of motor vehicle in 1998 and third-degree burglary in 2003. Since moving to Utah, he has been convicted of several felony and misdemeanor offenses, including robbery, burglary, assault, theft and impaired driving.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSDULUTH
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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