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Hibbing man gets 12 years for molesting girl

Travis Lee Turk

A Hibbing man who admitted to breaking into a home and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to nearly 12 years in prison.

Travis Lee Turk, 29, received the 142-month sentence from 6th Judicial District Judge David Ackerson. He pleaded guilty in October to felony charges of kidnapping and first-degree burglary.

Authorities said Turk removed a window screen to enter a Hibbing residence around 1 a.m. on May 31, 2016. The victim's mother was awoken by screams and found Turk holding the child, according to court documents. He fled the scene but was later identified and arrested.

Turk faced between 142 and 200 months under an agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office, which dismissed two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in exchange for the plea.

Turk will have to serve nearly eight years in custody before he is eligible for supervised release. He also will be required to register as a predatory offender.

According to court documents:

Hibbing police officers responded to the 100 block of East 25th Street and spoke with a woman who said she woke up hearing her child screaming and found a man holding the girl.

She told the man to drop the child and he complied, running downstairs and out of the home. Officers later found that a screen had been pried from a downstairs window.

Officers searched the area but were initially unable to locate the suspect. An investigation was set in motion, and after obtaining a search warrant, authorities arrested Turk that evening.

Turk's live-in girlfriend reported to investigators that he told her he had sexually assaulted the girl and that he had a history of molesting "about 15 other children" while he was a teenager.

She said Turk drank a bottle of rum before the incident and later told her that he had been watching the house — which was a few blocks from their residence — because he knew a little girl lived there. He asked his girlfriend to cover for him and provide him with an alibi, but she instead went to the police.

The child was taken to a hospital, where it was determined she was not physically injured.

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