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12-year-old charged with 1st degree sexual assault

A 12-year-old Rosemount boy has been charged with first degree sexual assault. Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said the boy allegedly assaulted a 6-year-old female family member several times over a three-year period.

Police began investigating the case Oct. 30. Because of their young ages officials can not identify either the victim or the alleged assailant.

A petition has been filed in Dakota County Court and will proceed through the juvenile court system. Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said the case is rare and has to be dealt with in a sensitive manner.

"This is a serious crime but we have to look at the offender's culpability and how much they understand," said Backstrom.

Like any criminal trial, prosecutors will have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If that happens or a plea is reached Backstrom said the juvenile will most likely undergo a psychological evaluation and undergo treatment. Treatment could be through a juvenile center or through a local provider with the boy remaining at home. After completing treatment the boy would be monitored for several years.

In addition Backstrom said family services will evaluate the home and people close to the situation.

Backstrom said Minnesota State Law prohibits anyone under 14 years old from being charged as an adult. He said even then it would only be in the most egregious circumstances.