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Afton man accused of sexual assault

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An Afton man was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after a woman accused him of abusing her when she was 8 years old.

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Charles Arthur Bell, 61, appeared in court Feb. 13 on the charges, which each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.

Washington County investigators first received a report on Bell in September 2012 after a 20-year-old woman came forward with allegations of sexual molestation.

The woman told authorities Bell - a man she knew through family ties - sexually assaulted her when she was 8 years old, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint states Bell touched the girl sexually before forcing her to perform a sex act on him.

The woman showed authorities a text message exchange she had in September 2012 with Bell, where she described the incident and told him "I can't even look at myself in the mirror."

A text response from Bell described in the complaint stated "I am truly sorry for many of my past transgressions. My younger years were filled with things I can't take back, should not have happened and will affect many lives for years to come. I can only hope that the good I've done will somehow outweigh the bad."

Bell was released from Washington County jail on Feb. 13 on bail terms that called for either $25,000 without conditions or $3,000 on conditions that he have no contact with the alleged victim and not possess firearms.

He returns to court on April 24.

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Michael Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. His coverage includes local crime, legislative activity and prep sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
(651) 702-0973
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