A drunken stranger broke into a home in the middle of the night on the Iron Range and molested a 5-year-old girl, then quickly confessed that night to his girlfriend that he carried out that assault and more than a dozen similar acts when he was a juvenile, according to charges.
Travis L. Turk, 27, of Hibbing, Minn., was charged Tuesday with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and burglary in connection with the break-in and assault earlier that day in a house near his. Turk remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Turk’s live-in girlfriend told police that he came home moments after the alleged molestation, admitted to what he had just done and said “he had molested about 15 other children, some who were cousins, prior to him turning 18 years old,” the criminal complaint read.
Turk told his girlfriend that “he has a problem and just wants to get help,” the complaint continued.
Brian Simonson, the assistant St. Louis County attorney prosecuting the case, said Thursday that these possible earlier assaults “have never been investigated” by authorities and only now are “being brought to our attention. … There is definitely going to be some follow-up by the Police Department.”
Police Sgt. Jeff Ronchetti said Turk “had been watching this residence” but he didn’t know the family.
According to the charges:
The girl’s mother called police after waking up to her daughter’s screams and finding a man — later identified as Turk — in the girl’s bedroom holding the child.
“Drop my kid,” the mother said she told Turk.
Turk set down the girl, ran downstairs with the mother in pursuit. She tried to grab him, but he got away. The woman looked out a window and yelled profanities at him as he stood on the corner.
The woman checked on her daughter and noticed she was naked below the waist. The girl would not allow her mother to check for any signs of sexual assault.
Turk’s girlfriend contacted police and said he had been drinking heavily that day, went out and returned home about 12:45 a.m. and asked her to concoct an alibi for him because he had broken into a home and assaulted a young girl. He said he had been watching the girl’s house for several months.
The next morning, while hung over, Turk and his girlfriend drove by the girl’s house.