A Tamarack man faces 11 felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting an underage girl and attempting to suffocate her.
Bryant Joseph McConnell, 35, was arrested on Wednesday and placed in Aitkin County Jail, according to Aitkin County Sheriff Daniel G. Guida. The most serious charges against him are four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — penetration or contact. If convicted of any of the charges, he would face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, Aitkin County Health and Human Services on Tuesday received a mandated report that an 11-year-old girl said she had been sexually assaulted by McConnell, who is known to her.
The child was interviewed by an investigator and a social worker the following day. She told them that when McConnell was touching her “private parts,” she started to scream. According to the complaint, she said that McConnell then “placed his hand over her mouth and nose and she felt like she could not breathe and stated she thought, ‘I am going to die today.’ ”
Another investigator arrested McConnell at his workplace on Wednesday afternoon.
The child’s mother told an investigator the child had said nothing about the alleged assault, but “had started ‘cutting’ again.”
When an investigator interviewed McConnell, he said he was confused and did not know why he was being accused.
The charges against him indicate that the alleged sexual assaults began on Sept. 1 and continued through Dec. 17.
In addition to the first-degree felony charges, McConnell faces four second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, one third-degree charge, one fourth-degree charge and one fifth-degree gross misdemeanor sexual conduct charge. He also faces one felony count of assault by strangulation.