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St. Croix County man charged with sexually assaulting child

Rodney W. Dionne

A Star Prairie man is set to be arraigned next month on allegations he sexually assaulted a child at his mother's former home day care facility.

St. Croix County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Rodney W. Dionne with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child, a crime that carries a mandatory 25-year prison sentence if convicted.

Dionne appeared June 12 for a preliminary hearing, where St. Croix County Court Commissioner Timothy Heckmann determined a felony likely occurred and moved the case into trial phase. Dionne remained in St. Croix County jail Monday on $5,000 cash bond.

According to a criminal complaint:

A St. Croix County sheriff's deputy took a report in January from a woman who said she learned Dionne had sexually assaulted her daughter, who was about 5 years old at the time.

The woman told authorities her children attended a private day care operated by Dionne's mother from October 2012 to August 2015. She said a discussion about bathroom behavior generated a comment from her daughter that "Dionne had pulled her into the bathroom before," the complaint states.

The mother made a recording of the conversation with the child, during which she said the abuse occurred on multiple occasions. The child repeated the allegations in graphic detail during an interview with St. Croix County investigative Sgt. Brandie Hart. She reported the child told her the abuse occurred while Dionne's mother was "sleeping downstairs."

Dionne refused to talk with Hart when she attempted to interview him.

Dionne's mother confirmed the child was at her facility and that Dionne was there at the time. If he wasn't in trouble or using drugs, he was at the house and participating in children's activities she was supervising, the woman told Hart.

She denied leaving Dionne alone with the children or napping while caring for the children. The woman said "it was not possible Dionne could have been alone with the children for even a couple of minutes," according to the complaint, later adding she believed her son could not have assaulted the girl.

Dionne's mother, who was not charged in connection with the report, also contacted RiverTown Multimedia to deny the allegations.

Hart said the daycare business was not licensed by the county and that she ceased providing childcare in 2015.

Dionne's criminal history includes convictions for felony bail jumping in 2016 and burglary in 2015. He also has an open felony drug-related case stemming from an April incident.

Arraignment in the sexual assault case is set for July 9.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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