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Jury convicts Afton man accused of child molestation

An Afton man convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct will be sentenced in July.

A jury convicted Charles Arthur Bell, 63, after a four-day trial that concluded May 22 in Washington County District Court.

The charges emerged in 2012 after a then- 20-year-old woman came forward with accusations that Bell had raped her when she was 8 years old. A criminal complaint stated Bell touched the girl – known to him through family ties – before forcing her to perform a sex act on him.

Years later as an adult, she confronted Bell about the incident through a series of text messages. During the exchange, Bell apologized for “past transgressions.”

He will be sentenced at 1 p.m. July 30.

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

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