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73-year-old man admits to sexually assaulting 2 girls

The Crow Wing County Judicial Center is along Laurel Street near downtown Brainerd.

A 73-year-old Crosby man admitted in a Brainerd courtroom Monday, May 20, to sexually assaulting two girls who had a significant relationship with him at his home.

David Homer South originally charged in September 2018 in Crow Wing County District Court with 10 felony counts of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges accused him of using force, using his position of authority, causing the victims bodily harm, using penetration and engaging in multiple acts of sexual misconduct.

As part of a plea agreement, South pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in having a significant relationship with a victim under age 16 and in using force. South will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. July 18. The parents of the victims sat in the gallery as the attorneys went over the plea agreement in front of Judge David Ten Eyck.

The plea agreement calls for up to 25 years on probation, 90 days in Crow Wing County Jail, a fine and treatment. In court, South's attorney said the parents of the victims agreed to the plea agreement because it is their belief South would die in jail. If the judge does not agree to the plea agreement during sentencing, South may withdraw his plea.

According to the probable cause statement filed in court, authorities assisted Crow Wing County Community Services June 28, 2017, with the removal of children from a residence and an investigation began. Information was received that a then 7-year-old child reported South had sexual contact with her multiple times and she felt nervous and scared.

On July 6, 2017, a Crow Wing County social worker interviewed a second victim, who was 15 at the time, who said she was sexually assaulted by South.

The second victim told the social worker she spent the night at the defendant's house and when she returned home the first victim asked her if she could tell her a secret, which was that South sexually assaulted her.

The 15-year-old told the social worker she went to South's residence around Easter to help color eggs, but they never colored any eggs. She stated the defendant sexually assaulted her in the laundry room at his house. She told him to stop and he hit her on the head with his hand. South also told her if she told anyone he would hurt her or kill her, the complaint stated. The victim thought she was 13 years old at the time of the assault. She stated she never told anyone about it because she believed South would kill her.

The girl also stated on one occasion while at South's residence, she came inside from feeding the rabbits and the younger victim and South were in a room. She heard the younger victim saying, "Stop, stop," and South saying, "No." The older victim then walked in and saw South on top of the younger victim and told him to get out. The older victim stated South yelled at her and told her he could do what he wanted because he's the adult and has the authority. He then came at her and she ran outside.