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New London man pleads to molesting 12-year-old, witness tampering

WILLMAR -- Craig Allan Hargreaves, 39, of New London, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges for molesting a 12-year-old boy in the summer of 2007 and to first-degree witness tampering for asking fellow jail inmates to "take care" of witnesses in the sex case.

Also in Kandiyohi County District Court, Hargreaves pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree drug charge and to furnishing alcohol to a minor. No sentencing date was set.

According to prosecutor Connie Crowell, she met with the victims in the cases and they were supportive of the plea agreement. Hargreaves will likely be sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Under a plea agreement, six additional criminal sexual conduct charges, another witness tampering charge, plus two charges for furnishing alcohol to a minor, will be dismissed.

Crowell said Thursday morning she was pleased that Hargreaves will go to prison for a very long time and that the case has been concluded for the victims, so they can "turn the page and move on with their lives," she said.

She relayed that the younger victim, now 14 years old, told her "the Lord answered my prayers, he pled guilty," when she told him about the plea agreement.

Another set of six criminal sexual conduct charges against Hargreaves, dating to 1988 and 1989, were dismissed on April 1 after prosecutors discovered the statute of limitations had expired. In that case, an adult male reported he was sexually abused as a child by Hargreaves, when the man was 6 or 7 years old and Hargreaves was 12 or 13, while they lived in New London. The man said that several other boys and girls, now adults, had also been sexually touched and forced to perform sex acts on Hargreaves.

The charges for molesting the juvenile were filed after a detective with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office began investigating a family services report that the boy had been sexually abused. The detective interviewed the boy, who said he stayed overnight at Hargreaves' home on three occasions in the late summer of 2007 and was assaulted by him. The incidents included sexual touching and attempts to perform sex acts on the boy by Hargreaves. The boy also said that Hargreaves had given him a lemonade-flavored alcoholic drink before one of the incidents.

According to the other complaint, the detective also interviewed a 19-year-old man as part of the ongoing investigation. The man said he hung out at Hargreaves' home, drank hard liquor and smoked marijuana there. The man said that Hargreaves performed sex acts on him while he was drunk or high and that he did not consent to the sexual contact.