Man accused of criminal sexual conduct changes plea

Published 4:21 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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A man originally charged with three felonies for criminal sexual conduct involving a minor has changed his plea on one of the charges as part of a potential plea deal.

Rodolfo Morataya Lopez, 41, amended his plea late last week in Mower County District Court of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 13 to guilty under an Alford plea, which recognizes that while Lopez claims to be innocent it also acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convict.

As part of the plea deal, the two remaining counts could be dropped. Official sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2024.

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Lopez was originally arrested and charged in March of 2021 with two felony counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13 and the one felony second degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13.

According to court documents, Lopez was charged with assaulting a five-year-old girl. Police were first made aware of the assaults in January of 2021.

Lopez denied the allegations and later fled Austin, failing to show up to an April 15, 2021 hearing. A warrant was issued that day.