Teen charged in Powderhorn sex assault

At least three of the suspects in the attacks are younger than 16, so their identities haven't been revealed.

Prosecutors say that after two teenagers sexually assaulted and tried to rob a mother at gunpoint in Powderhorn Park, one of them turned to the woman's 10-year-old daughter and told her to pull down her pants.

The mother, who had been cross-country skiing the night before Thanksgiving with her two kids, started to get up and said, "No, not my daughter," according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court. The pair of attackers and two accomplices fled.

Because one was believed to be 16, prosecutors on Tuesday released a complaint against him detailing the crimes. But within an hour, District Judge Kerry Meyer said the boy may be 15 and that the complaint shouldn't be public until his age is determined. His grandmother said he is 16. The boy said he is 15.

Meyer said the court would try to get the birth certificate for the teen, whose initials are M.T.H. He was charged with three counts of aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery.

Charges against the three younger suspects aren't yet public. County Attorney Mike Freeman said criminal-sexual assault, kidnapping and armed robbery charges had been filed, but he wouldn't say what was filed against whom.

According to the complaint against M.T.H.:

A 15-year-old identified as N.S.H. led the attacks, pointing a gun at the 45-year-old mother and demanding money and cell phones. The woman told him they had nothing, so N.S.H. used the gun to knock down the woman's 13-year-old son.

When the boy pulled only candy wrappers from his pockets, N.S.H. pulled down the woman's pants and sexually assaulted her with his fingers. Accomplice M.H., 14, similarly assaulted the woman. He turned 15 since the attack.

Police who responded about 7:30 p.m. followed "unique footprints" in the snow to a garage in the 3200 block of Bloomington Av. S., where they heard "hysterical screaming" and saw two females run from a garage.

The females, ages 16 and 18, told police that two men with a gun tried to rape them. They later identified N.S.H. and G.D.T., 15, as their attackers. They said they were walking when a male wearing a hockey goalie mask told them to turn around. G.D.T. later told police he wore a mask in the second attack, and N.S.H. wore a black scarf over his face.

The attackers ordered the women into the garage and told them to "take everything off," charges said. N.S.H. tried to rape one of the women as he held a gun to her head, the complaint said. N.S.H. then pulled down the pants of the second woman, pushed her onto a couch, threatened to shoot her and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him.

Meanwhile, the first woman ran and encountered the approaching police.

G.D.T. admitted that he and the other three robbed and sexually assaulted three people that night, the complaint said.

When a defendant is younger than 16, the state has the burden of proving he or she should be tried as an adult. But a defendant 16 or older has the burden of proving he or she shouldn't be tried as an adult.

Convictions in adult court would mean longer sentences in adult prisons. If the defendants remain in juvenile court, they could be under court jurisdiction until they turn 21 at the latest.

Freeman said he thinks his office will seek to try all four as adults. "Part of what we're trying to process through is who did what," he said.

raolson@startribune.com • 612-673-1747 asimons@startribune.com • 612-673-4921 mckinney@startribune.com • 612-673-7329

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