Mankato Criminal Sex Plea 09 May 12

A Mankato man pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in Blue Earth County Court on Tuesday. 41-year-old Thomas James Zuehlke told authorities that he was too intoxicated to remember sexually assaulting a woman in her Mankato apartment on Valentine’s Day 2011. The victim’s 10-year-old son was hiding in his bedroom during the attack, and Zuehlke reportedly threatened to harm the child if the victim attempted to stop him. The assault was stopped by the arrival of a friend of the victim. Zuehlke’s trial was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, but he instead entered a Norgaard Plea, which allows people to plead guilty with the understanding they don’t remember what happened due to intoxication or amnesia. Burglary and kidnapping charges will be dropped in exchange for the plea. Zuehlke likely faces 75 months in prison when he is sentenced in July. He previously served 20 months in prison as well for a sexual assault in December of 2008.