One day after graduating with his classmates, a Blue Earth Area student charged in the October 2017 assault of a football teammate appeared in court for a plea hearing held Monday morning in Fairmont.
Faribault County assistant county attorney LaMar Piper told Martin County Judge Michael Trushenski that 18-year-old Dalton Nagel has agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting third-degree assault and a new charge of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The criminal sexual charge, which is considered a gross misdemeanor, was added in an amended criminal complaint before the hearing. It has been reduced to a misdemeanor.
Dale and Tonya Hurley, parents of the victim, sat with a friend in the courtroom as Nagel took the stand and answered questions regarding the assault that took place at a house party in Winnebago the night of Oct. 18 or early hours of Oct. 19.
“It was hard to hear, it’s been a long time waiting,” says Tonya. “I needed to hear him say the truth.”
Dale adds, “I’d like to take time and thank the Winnebago police, they did a great job. We thought this was going to get covered up. But, the truth is out now.”
In recalling what happened that night, Nagel says six to seven teammates including the alleged victim were drinking when he became loud and the others were afraid he was going to wake up the owners of the house.
“You hit him,” asked Piper. “That is not correct,” Nagel replied.
But, Nagel admitted holding the boy down while others punched him seven or eight times with a closed fist until he was unconscious.
Nagel couldn’t say who actually struck the victim but was aware his face was swollen and pictures were taken and placed on Snapshot the next morning.
The alleged victim was lying down against a couch and not moving, says Piper, when Nagel dropped his trousers.
“You did what people call ‘tea bagging.’ You agree that your genitals touched his face?” Piper asked.
“Correct,” Nagel responded, adding he could not say if more than one teammate filmed the incident.
The Hurleys wept as they left the courtroom and met with Deb Wiederhoft, victim witness coordinator for Faribault County.
“As a mom it was sickening to hear,” says Tonya. “I don’t know how it is going to affect my son the rest of his life, how he will be around boys when they’re playing around.”
Dale and his son moved to Nebraska last January, while Tonya and her daughter stayed in Blue Earth until the end of the school year.
Hurley says he has been back for two days and they are finishing packing before the movers arrive later this week.
“It made me sick driving into Blue Earth,” he says. “If I have a message, It’s I hope this wakes up Blue Earth. That parents pay attention to what is going on in your schools and with your kids, so this doesn’t happen again.”
Trushenski ordered that a pre-sentence investigation be conducted and set July 9 as the date Nagel will be sentenced on the felony assault charge and misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct charge.