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Albert Lea man charged with touching child

An Albert Lea man was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct after allegedly touching a 7-year-old girl.

Armando Mendez Jr., 21, faces a felony charge for criminal sexual conduct with a victim under age 13 because the defendant is more than 36 months older than the victim. He appeared with public defender Kevin Riha in Freeborn County District Court Monday in front of District Judge Ross Leuning.

Mendez will have to wait until an omnibus hearing to enter a plea.

Court documents said Albert Lea police were called to a residence on Jan. 15 by someone reporting a sexual assault. The girl’s mother told police her daughter had gone to the basement to watch Mendez play video games, and when she thought it was too quiet she went downstairs to check on them.

She reported that the girl and Mendez were lying on the floor, and the girl had her underwear and pants off. The mother told officers Mendez had a shirt and sweatpants on, but she could tell he had an erection. The girl’s mother also said she thought Mendez was taking two prescription drugs, Seroquel, which is often used to treat schizophrenia, and Depakote, which treats certain types of seizures.

During an interview with an Albert Lea Police Department detective, Mendez said the girl took off her pants and underwear and then he touched her. The detective asked him why she would take her pants off, and Mendez replied that he might have helped her take her pants off.

He also said then she got on top of him but noted he was still wearing his pants. Mendez also told the detective this was the second time he had touched the girl. He said the first time was a few weeks earlier when he touched her outside of her clothes.

The bail for Mendez was set at $50,000 with conditions including no contact with the victim or family, no contact with anyone under age 18, to remain law-abiding and obtain permission before leaving the state, among others.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison or $35,000, or both.