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Charges: Registered sex offender raped Valleyfair worker outside dormlike housing

August 28, 2018

A Twin Cities man who spent 90 days in jail and was deemed a predatory offender for raping a ninth-grade girl has been charged with another rape, this one outside a government-owned building where seasonal workers at Valleyfair are housed.

Austin J. Jones, 26, appeared Monday in Scott County District Court on charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct and remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The rape of the Valleyfair worker occurred outside the SCALE Regional Public Safety Training Facility on Valley View Drive near Jordan, roughly 13 miles southwest of the amusement park.

Valleyfair arranges rent of $38.50 a week for each employee it houses in the dormlike setting at the facility, which is operated by Scott County.

At the time of his arrest, Jones was serving 15 years of probation for raping a 14-year-old girl during a December 2010 drinking party at a house in Chaska. The sentence from Judge Philip Kanning began with a 90-day jail term and included his registration with the state as a predatory offender.

Before the new rape allegation, Jones had violated the terms of his probation at least three times, according to court records. Terms include staying law-abiding and abstaining from drugs and alcohol, or risk being sent to prison for the first rape.

Though the violations include convictions for felony burglary, marijuana possession and illegal use of alcohol, none triggered imprisonment, a state Department of Corrections spokesman said Monday.

According to the criminal complaint in this months assault, the woman was on the phone with her boyfriend about 1 a.m. on Aug. 7 when she told him she was walking over to a man near a tree who looked like he needed something. She yelled, Ouch, that hurts, and he heard the sound of the phone apparently dropping.

Officers arrived and found the woman on the ground, a belt around her neck and stripped nearly naked. She was unresponsive, shivering and appeared to be in shock, the charges read. The woman was taken to a hospital where she described her attacker and noted that he smelled of cheap cologne and cigarettes. She said he grabbed her by the wrist, and next remembered her legs and neck hurting, and being unable to breathe.

As she tried to call out for help, he kept tightening the belt tighter and he raped her.

Authorities caught up with Jones about a mile away in an SUV parked near a field. He was slumped over inside, and the vehicles contents indicated that he was living in it. He failed to explain where he had been that night and was then arrested.

DNA tested on the belt around the womans neck matched DNA examined from Jones underwear.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482

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