by NATHANIEL NELSON
A 30-year-old man accused of rape at gunpoint in St. Charles has been indicted by the Winona County Grand Jury on eight counts of criminal sexual conduct and first-degree burglary, the Winona County Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.
Zane Robert Pederson, of Spicer, Minn., was indicted by the Winona County Grand Jury on Friday with eight felonies –– two counts of first-degree criminal sexual content, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment and making threats of violence. Five of these felonies carry a life sentence, which requires indictment by a grand jury.
According to the criminal complaint, on Sunday, November 18, 2018, a woman was asleep in her St. Charles home when she awoke at 1 a.m. to find a man wearing a mask at the end of her bed, holding a handgun.
The man –– reportedly identified as Pederson through DNA analysis –– reportedly disguised his voice, and zip tied the woman’s hands behind her back. Over the next five hours, Pederson allegedly raped the woman three times, making repeated threats of violence toward both the woman and her child. At one point, Pederson stated he was “a rapist, not a monster,” the report states. He also allegedly said he would “hate to go to her child’s school” and he would “hate to kill her child.”
According to the complaint, the woman reported that Pederson held a gun to her face during the third assault, and made an attempt to destroy evidence and disable the woman’s phone before leaving the home at 6 a.m.
The woman later learned she was missing an article of clothing she had been wearing before the assaults, and DNA retrieved from the scene was matched to Pederson from another pending sexual assault investigation in another Minnesota county, the report states.
On March 4, investigators executed a search warrant of Pederson’s home, vehicles, and his person and, in the process, they reportedly discovered clothing that matched the description given by the victim. A loaded gun was also reportedly located at the residence, as well as the article of clothing that the woman had been wearing when the sexual assaults began.
According to the report, Pederson admitted to being in the residence on both Friday and Saturday night, and that he was using methamphetamine at the time. He reportedly said that the victim initiated the first sexual encounter, and that he touched her leg with his firearm but did not point it at her.
However, Pederson reportedly admitted to downplaying portions of the confession, the report states.
Pederson has been held on a $1,000,000 bond since his arrest on March 6. He is now being held on a $2,000,000 unconditional bond, and his next court date is scheduled for April 24 at 9 a.m.