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Jury selection continues in week-long trial

NEW ULM — Jury selection continues for a five-day jury trial involving a 39-year-old Hanska man facing two felony criminal sexual conduct charges in Brown County District Court.

Christopher L. Konakowitz was charged with two counts of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct on Oct. 8, 2019. Two girls, ages 9 and 10, both told authorities Konakowitz molested them in 2014 when they stayed overnight at his residence.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, 21 Brown County jurors will begin to be paired down to 12 jurors and one alternate.

Following a four-day jury trial, Konakowitz was convicted April 29 of three counts of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of sexually abusing a child between Jan. 31, 1999, and Jan. 30, 2002. Konakowitz was acquitted of two counts of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct in the case.

The accuser told investigators she was between age four and six when the sexual abuse happened. Konakowitz was 18 to 20 years old at the time, according to court documents.

Mankato defense attorney Thomas K. Hagen said Konakowitz denied the allegations, saying they lack a number of details and that the State relies on assumptions.

The victim testified she never told anyone about the sexual abuse and didn’t realize what “this stuff was until I was 12 or 13 years old.”

Deputy Brown County Attorney Jill Jensen said the State showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Konakowitz sexually assaulted the victim three times in Hanska when she was a child.

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