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Court trial begins for NU man

Stancer

BROWN COUNTY — A 45-year-old New Ulm man is undergoing trial on four felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in Brown County District Court. The trial began Thursday.

Travis J. Stancer of New Ulm faces charges of sexual contact with person under age 13 between April 25, 2011, and April 24, 2014.

Stancer is accused of engaging in sexual contact and using force or coercion to accomplish it; plus engaging in sexual contact with a person nearer of kin to him than first cousin.

The victim, 14, testified that Stancer forced her to have sex with him a number of times several years ago and that he hit her, slapping her in the face when he was drunk.

In cross examination, the girl testified the sex happened in a trailer when she was about age five and that he told her he hated her and slapped her.

The girl testified that she has been going to therapy for a long time and that an investigation began once, involving her relationship with Stancer, but that the investigation ended after the girl said it was a dream.

“Is it possible this may have all been a dream?” asked public defender Greg Handevidt of Mankato.

“No,” said the girl.

She testified she couldn’t have made everything up because it really happened.

The girl testified that Stancer hit her in the face many times, gave her alcohol, punched her, and knocked her out.

The girl testified to the State that she was scared of Stancer because he yelled at her and hit her.

Witness and Personal Care Assistant Aston Woratschka of New Ulm testified that she took care of the girl and her brother in 2019 and 2020. Woratschka said the girl said Stancer gave her beer and touched her inappropriately.

Woratschka testified she contacted the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, was interviewed by Senior Investigator Jeff Hohensee, and was told to contact human services.

She testified that the girl was crying and holding a blanket when she told her about her relationship with Stancer.

In cross examination, Woratschka testified she had no personal knowledge of a sexual relationship between Stancer and the girl, only that she was mandated to report that the girl said Stancer touched her inappropriately.

According to court documents, Brown County Child Protection Agency Stacy Helget interviewed the girl on March 13, 2019, and was told of the girl’s multiple sexual incidents with Stancer at the family residence in New Ulm.

Hohensee testified he investigated a criminal case regarding inappropriate touching by Stancer, so he contacted Brown County Human Services to do a forensic interview with the girl.

“From the interview, it was clear Stancer had sexual penetration with the girl without consent,” Hohensee testified.

He testified the interview with the girl included Stancer providing her alcohol and watching animated pornography.

Hohensee testified he interviewed several other people in New Ulm and briefly interviewed Stancer at the Faribault Correctional Facility, where Stancer refused to do an interview without a lawyer present.

Hohensee testified he investigated Stancer in several other cases including a sex with penetration case and one in which Stancer prostituted the girl to a friend. Hohensee testified Stancer was charged in the cases in Brown County District Court.

In cross examination, Hohensee testified there was no mention of sexual penetration in the case until the forensic interview.

“This is a delayed reporting case in which the girl reported at age 12 or 13 what happened to her at age five and seven, so there was no physical evidence or a forensic physical examination of her,” Handevidt said in cross examination.

The court trial continues on Zoom Meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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