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Willmar man sentenced on felony charge in gang rape

Jesse Jose Lopez

WILLMAR, Minn. – A Willmar man who was charged in connection with a gang rape in 2017 was sentenced Thursday, April 4, in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Jesse Jose Lopez, 18, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

As part of a plea agreement, two other felony criminal sexual conduct charges were dismissed and Lopez was moved from juvenile court and certified as an adult.

The agreement also includes a stay of adjudication, which means the conviction will not be on Lopez’s record if he meets the conditions of his probation.

Judge David Mennis sentenced Lopez to serve 10 days in jail, with credit given for 10 days already served.

Lopez was placed on supervised probation for five years with conditions that include attending a sex offender program, not using or possessing alcohol or drugs, no contact with females under the age of 18 without approval of probation officer and no contact with the victim.

He was also ordered to pay fines and fees of $710.

Lopez was one of the three young Willmar men charged in a gang rape of a 14-year-old girl in June 2017.

The other men, Alex Omar Valdivieso Chavez, 19, and Sergio Jesus Moreno-Leiva, 19, are waiting for their next court appearances.

According to court records, a girl who was 14 at the time reported that she had been walking home from summer school when a vehicle approached her, carrying several people she knew. She got into the car, and they went to the home of one of them.

The men allegedly provided alcohol to the girl. A group of people were in a bedroom when Lopez and Moreno-Leiva allegedly held her down and took her clothes off, court documents state. She told authorities that she heard one of the men refer to a “one-time opportunity.”

According to the court documents, the girl told authorities that the three men held her down and sexually assaulted her.