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Minn. teen denies sexual assault allegations

WILLMAR, Minn. -- An Olivia teenager made his first court appearance Monday, March 18, on charges he sexually assaulted young girls who attended his mother’s home day care.

Trent Anthony Uhlenkamp, 16, appeared before Judge Dwayne Knutsen in the Renville County Courthouse in Olivia.

Wearing blue jeans and a polo shirt, Uhlenkamp sat between his mother, Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp – who is also facing charges in connection with the case, and Curtis Reese, a public defender.

Trent Uhlenkamp is charged in a Renville County juvenile petition with three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree for allegedly touching young girls inappropriately.

During the court hearing, three girls were identified by their initials in connection with the alleged assaults.

A fourth alleged victim was identified by initials in reference only to allegations against Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp, but also was included in the list of people with whom Trent Uhlenkamp is not allowed contact.

At least one parent of an alleged victim was in the courtroom Monday.

During the brief court hearing when juvenile defendants are asked to either admit or deny the charges, Uhlenkamp’s attorney, Curtis Reese, indicated that Uhlenkamp was entering a denial of the charges filed against him.

Uhlenkamp was released to the custody of his mother with several conditions, including that he have no contact with the four alleged victims or their families and that he have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 13, with the exception of his siblings.

Renville County Attorney David Torgelson said the state did not object to Uhlenkamp going to school because he would be in a supervised environment.

As part of the conditions of release, Judge Knutsen also instructed Uhlenkamp to not have any contact with firearms.

According to the juvenile petition filed against Trent Uhlenkamp, he inappropriately touched the young girls on several occasions in the basement of the home where he lives and the day care operated until the state suspended its license.

The assaults are alleged to have happened during a period of time that began around 2016, with the most recent incident reported Jan. 28, according to the juvenile petition.

He was arrested Jan. 30 after a child attending the day care told her mother.

Uhlenkamp’s next court appearance is April 5.

Meanwhile Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp, 46, is expected to make her first court appearance March 28.

She faces four charges: one gross misdemeanor count of failing to report the alleged abuse of two or more children to law enforcement and three gross misdemeanor counts of child neglect – knowingly permitting the continued physical or sexual abuse of three different alleged victims.

As a child care provider, Peggy Jo Uhlenkamp is legally required to report abuse, but she did not report any incidents involving any of the four children, according to the criminal complaint against her.

The license of the day care, Peggy’s Rhymes and Reasons Day Care, located on West Walnut Avenue in Olivia, has been suspended since Jan. 31 and the business is not currently in operation.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the license was suspended due to imminent risk of harm. The department’s licensing web page says the suspension of the license is under appeal.

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