A Chisholm, Minn., man has been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for raping a teenager whom he found asleep alone in her car near an Iron Range bike trail.
Owoidighe I. Ekanem, 35, was sentenced recently in St. Louis County District Court in Hibbing after pleading guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping in connection with the Oct. 9 rape of the teen.
Ekanem was given a 14-year sentence for the sexual assault and a consecutive term of slightly more than two years for the kidnapping conviction. In total, he’ll serve at least the first 10 years in prison and the rest on supervised release.
The victim, identified in the charging document as being from Virginia, Minn., suffered a broken nose during the assault. Police reported that she fell asleep while waiting for a friend in her car parked near the disc golf course near the Mesabi bike trail access in Chisholm. She said she was awakened by a rap on the window by a man she did not know.
She said Ekanem pulled her out of the car by her hair and hit her in the face. He threw her into the back seat of his SUV and drove to a wooded area, raped her and put her back in his vehicle. After driving around for a few more minutes, the teen told police, Ekanem got in the back seat and raped her again. He returned her to her car and drove away.
Officers learned that Ekanem had been at Valentini’s Supper Club in Chisholm and had four or five beers at the bar before heading over to Cheap Thrills Bar nearby, where he had drinks and left shortly after 2 a.m.