Man faces sexual misconduct charges

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2003

A man has been arrested in connection with a sex-for-cigarettes incident at an Austin service station.

A 27-year-old Austin man was employed as an afternoon clerk at the Sinclair gas station and convenience store along North Main Street at the Fourth Street NE intersection, according to an Austin Police Department report.

Two 14-year-old girls allegedly told a special education teacher at Ellis Middle School that they went to the station June 11 and asked to buy cigarettes. The clerk on duty at the time asked them to show them their breasts before he would sell them cigarettes. According to the police report, the girls complied.

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On June 12, the girls returned and asked to buy cigarettes from the same clerk.

The clerk allegedly told the girls he would sell them cigarettes if one of them would perform oral sex on him. One of the girls complied and he escorted her to a rear office room, while the other girl watched from outside the store through the front window glass.

The clerk was arrested at the business Tuesday afternoon. He remains in the Mower County Jail on charges of criminal sexual conduct.

Mower County Attorney Patrick W. Flanagan is reviewing the case before the suspect makes his first appearance in district court.

Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philipp said the business owners maintain the case is racially motivated.

But the victim's friend confirmed her account, according to the police report, and told detectives she saw the girl and the man walk from the front counter area to the rear of the business.

No other customers were in the business at the time of the alleged incidents.

The store's surveillance tapes for the days in question are missing, according to police.