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Hibbing man charged with sexually abusing minor

The 18-year-old defendant allegedly told the 13-year-old victim that "age doesn't really matter."

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HIBBING — An 18-year-old man is accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

Court documents state that Caleb John Whiting, of Hibbing, engaged in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim after initially telling her that he was 15.

Caleb John Whiting.jpg
Caleb John Whiting

The girl told investigators that Whiting knew she was just 13 and that he made a remark to the effect of "age doesn't really matter," according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in State District Court.

Whiting was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a presumptive prison term of 12 years. Judge Rachel Sullivan set bail at $40,000.

The complaint states that relatives of the victim met with Hibbing police investigators Monday after finding a photo of her with Whiting. Captain Cody Loewen then went to Whiting's residence, where the defendant's father reported that he was in his bedroom with a female.

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Loewen was granted access to the room, finding the victim naked, according to the complaint. She reportedly went on to state that they had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol through the previous night, and engaged in intercourse and oral sex.

Whiting's father also told police that his son had brought the girl over around lunchtime on Sunday and left around 7 p.m. He said he had asked the girl to leave as she appeared significantly younger than 18, the complaint states.

The age of consent in Minnesota is 16. Because the alleged victim was under 14, and the defendant more than 36 months older, it is a first-degree offense under state law. Neither mistake as to age nor any claim of consent is a valid defense.

Whiting is scheduled to be back in court Thursday.

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Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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