FARIBAULT — The case against former Kasson police officer Julio Baez will be moved to District Court in Olmsted County at a future date, according to a ruling in Rice County District Court Friday.
The ruling will cancel the jury trial in Faribault that was scheduled to begin Monday.
Baez, 52, pleaded not guilty on Oct. 9 in Rice County District Court to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct – victim under 16 with a significant relationship, three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct – victim under 13, seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct – penetration or contact with a person under 13, and 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct – penetration – victim under 16 with a significant relationship.
He also faces charges in Olmsted and Dodge counties including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual misconduct and two counts of of third-degree sexual conduct in Olmsted County, and one count each of first-degree, second-degree and third-degree criminal sexual assault for offenses that allegedly occurred in Dodge County.
The charges stem from incidents alleged to have occurred in multiple municipalities over more than a decade. The alleged victims were known to Baez. The Post Bulletin generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
With Monday’s jury trial being canceled in Faribault, the next court date for Baez will be the plea hearing, said District Court Judge Jeffrey Johnson. The date has not been set because Rice County is waiting on the court administration in Olmsted County to find a date on its calendar.
Assistant Rice County Attorney Kristine Word said the venue change serves several purposes. First, a plea and sentencing on all charges across the three counties can be heard in one place. Second, two of Baez’s alleged victims live in Olmsted County, so the change is being made for their convenience.
“We’ve agreed, this will be more convenient for the witnesses and more efficient for the courts in front of one judge,” Word said.
Word said attorneys are still negotiating for a plea deal in the case on all charges. She said she’d prefer to avoid a jury trial if possible so the victims are not forced to testify and relive the experiences.
On June 2, Baez was found with reportedly self-inflicted gunshot wounds after Dodge County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report in rural Mantorville. A subsequent investigation led to the discovery of multiple allegations of criminal sexual conduct against Baez dating back to 1992.
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