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AUSTIN EDITION Man charged in assault of girlfriend

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

A Duluth man faces seven felony charges for allegedly kidnapping, assaulting and trying to solicit his girlfriend for prostitution in Austin.

Brian Antoine Stewart, 37, has been charged with three felony counts of kidnapping along with single counts of third-degree assault, attempt to solicit or promote prostitution, terroristic threats and false imprisonment (intentional restraint), Mower District Court records show.

Stewart, who also is charged with gross-misdemeanor interfering with a 911 call, appeared in court Friday, according to court records. Bail was set at $100,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions.

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According to the criminal complaint, police went to the Sterling Motel in southwest Austin about 12:30 a.m. Thursday after a woman called 911, asked for help and hung up.

Police found an 18-year-old woman at the motel's office with blood on her face and a broken nose, the complaint says. She had a small cut on her wrist and appeared to be intoxicated.

The woman told police that Stewart, her boyfriend, punched her in the nose about six times. They had been at a bar downtown when he dragged her out and made her get in a car.

She told police she tried to get out of the car but Stewart grabbed her elbow and said he'd kill her if she attempted to escape again. At the motel, Stewart told the woman to pack her things to head back to Duluth and then went to the car, the complaint says. The woman instead locked the door and called police.

Stewart kicked in the door, began punching the woman and threw her across the room, the complaint says.

The woman, who is nearly two months pregnant, told police Stewart deliberately punched her in the stomach and has been trying to prostitute her for money, according to the complaint.

Stewart, who left after the alleged assault, was later arrested in Freeborn County, the complaint says. He told police he thought his girlfriend would be working at one of the strip clubs downtown, but he found her drunk and talking with men instead. They went to the motel, got into an argument and he left, he told police. He told police the woman was injured when she fell down earlier in the night, the complaint says.

Stewart, who is in the Mower County Jail, is set to appear in court on March 10.

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