A.L. man found not guilty of criminal sexual conduct

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joseph Jensen

An Albert Lea man was found not guilty of criminal sexual conduct after a two-day trial in which he was tried for assaulting and raping a 14-year-old girl in November of 2009.

Joseph Harry Jensen, 55, had pleaded not guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

After closing arguments Thursday afternoon the jury deliberated for less than four hours, finding Jensen not guilty of both charges. Jensen’s defense was that the girl’s account had changed, most notably the time and the color of the couch. Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson argued those factors should not mean the man was innocent.

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“Why would a child put herself through this experience if it were not true. What does she have to gain?” he said.

According to court papers, the incident reportedly took place at the residence of Jensen’s friend, in a second-story apartment in downtown
Albert Lea.

Reports state the victim and Jensen allegedly smoked marijuana before Jensen started making inappropriate advances toward the girl. The prosecution alleged he slapped and then punched the teenage girl before throwing her down on a couch and raping her. Court documents state Jensen was admitted to prison March 30, 2010, for failing to register as a predatory offender from a previous case, where he was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. That case also involved smoking marijuana and inappropriate behavior with a girl similar in age.