BROOKINGS – A Lake Benton, Minnesota, man is facing felony charges in Brookings County, accused of raping three underage girls here between May 2020 and January 2021.
Tristen Simonsen, 18, has been charged with one count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape.
The case involves girls ages 12-15.
Brookings County State’s Attorney Dan Nelson alleged that Simonsen contacted the girls through social media and set up encounters in Brookings County.
Nelson said two of the alleged rapes happened when Simonsen was 18, and the other when he was 17. Because of the seriousness of the felonies, Simonsen can be charged as an adult for the third count as well, he added.
Nelson said part of the investigation branches out to incidents that may have happened in Lincoln County, Minnesota.
Simonsen was arrested Friday and made his first court appearance Monday. He is being held at the Brookings County Detention Center on $25,000 cash-only bond. If he is able to post bond, he must remain law-abiding, sign a waiver of extradition, make all court appearances, and cannot have contact with any victims or any minor under the age of 16.
First-degree rape, of a person under age 13, is a Class C felony punishable by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine. Second-degree rape, by the use of force, coercion or threats of immediate and great bodily harm, is a Class 1 felony with a maximum punishment of 50 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Simonsen’s next court appearance is at 1:30 p.m. June 21.
Contact Jill Fier at [email protected]