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Otter Tail County jury acquits man accused of sex assault of 12-year-old

FERGUS FALLS - A 21-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl has been acquitted of two felony charges in Otter Tail County. Joseph Daniel Anderson, of Pelican Rapids, was released from custody Tuesday, the same day a jury fo...

FERGUS FALLS – A 21-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl has been acquitted of two felony charges in Otter Tail County.

Joseph Daniel Anderson, of Pelican Rapids, was released from custody Tuesday, the same day a jury found him not guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

During a six-day trial, jurors heard from more than 15 witnesses, including two experts. The jury deliberated for about 3½ hours before reaching a decision.

In a statement, Anderson’s attorney, Christopher Cadem, described the verdict as emotional.

“Mr. Anderson simply did not rape her and the evidence and witnesses showed that,” Cadem said. “The worst part was that Mr. Anderson sat in jail for more than five months for a crime he didn’t commit.”

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Anderson was accused of sexually assaulting the girl in Pelican Rapids on July 9. A message left for prosecutor Ryan Cheshire was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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