Sex offender charged with assaulting elderly woman at a rural church

| December 1, 2009

A convicted sex offender has been charged with beating and sexually assaulting a elderly woman as she gave him a tour of a rural Kandiyohi County church last month.

According to charges filed Monday, Lindon Roy Knutson, 61, left the 73-year-old victim bloodied on the ground outside the Crow River Church on the afternoon of Nov. 24.

Knutson has been convicted of a string of sexual assaults dating back to 1973 and has spent much of the past three decades in prison.

In Wisconsin, he was committed as a habitual sex offender, most recently at a mental health institution in Madison.

He admitted to committing at least 10 previous assaults, but a judge in Wisconsin released him from commitment last year, the complaint states.

Earlier this year, he moved to Bemidji, where he was arrested 10 days before the assault at the church for failing to register as a predatory offender. He was released after posting $2,500 bail three days later.

The complaint gave this account of the assault:

Knutson came to the church and asked for a tour because, in his words, "he likes churches."

As the woman, the church's custodian, escorted him through the building. he shoved her into a wall, knocked her to the floor and kicked her in the head. He did so, he said, because she had made him angry when she said she didn't have a purse with her.

He then sexually assaulted her.

He grabbed her purse and drove away on rural roads, he tossed its contents out of his truck.

He was arrested about three hours after the assault in Cosmos, Minn., after police found a truck that matched the description given by the woman.

Knutson is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on charges of criminal sexual conduct, aggravated robber, assault and theft. His bail was set at $500,000.

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Category: Church Security

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