Man convicted of sexually assaulting children
AUSTIN — A Brownsdale man accused of sexually assaulting three girls has been convicted in Mower County District Court.
A jury on Friday handed down convictions in seven of the eight felony charges against Joshua Steven Mittelsted. He was found guilty of four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was acquitted on a fourth count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Sentencing has been set for Dec. 17.
The investigation began Nov. 24, when a man contacted law enforcement to say that two girls had told him Mittelsted had been abusing them for years.
The girls were at the man's house when he made the report. Their mother was there to take them home when a detective arrived to speak to them. When he asked the woman for Mittelsted's phone number, she refused to give it, and then attempted to leave the house with the girls, the report says.
She ultimately was arrested for obstructing the investigation and taken to jail.
According to the criminal complaint, "Victim A" told authorities Mittelsted had been touching her inappropriately for more than two years, including digital penetration. The girl allegedly said the incidents occurred "every week" when her mother wasn't home, and Mittelsted advised her not to say anything because he could get in "really big trouble."
Mittelsted forced both girls to touch him inappropriately, the complaint says.
The second child told investigators Mittelsted initially began touching her over the top of her clothes, but it progressed to sexual contact, the report says. She allegedly said most of the incidents occurred when her mother was gone, but that Mittelsted occasionally would take her to another room and shut the door if her mother was home.
According to the criminal complaint, the second girl once saw Mittelsted on a chair with Victim A, "almost" kissing her.
A third girl came forward after Mittelsted had been charged, saying she, too, had been assaulted. The criminal complaint against him was adjusted to reflect those accusations.
The girls' mother said she spoke with Mittelsted about the accusations and he denied them. The woman indicated she didn't believe sexual abuse had occurred.
The first-degree charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $40,000 fine, or both. The second-degree count is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine.