Despite pleas from dozens of his supporters that he not be incarcerated, the young man convicted for a sexual assault in his dorm room at Minnesota State University-Mankato is headed to prison.
Nineteen-year-old John Thomas Owen of Mazeppa was sentenced today to four years behind bars, with credit for the two days he earlier served in the Blue Earth County Jail.
Prior to the sentencing, 39 letters of support for Owen had been submitted to the court by family and friends. Many of the people urged no prison time for Owen, speaking of how he was kind, respectful and a gentle soul – and how they were worried of what will happen to him, being incarcerated with “hardened criminals.”
According to the complaint, the 16-year-old victim was visiting her sister at MSU in September of 2016 and went to a party with a group of people. When they returned to the Preska Residence Community, the girl was offered a spot to sleep on a futon in Owen’s dorm room as there was no bed available elsewhere.During the night, Owen allegedly joined the intoxicated victim on the futon and began kissing her, then took off his pants and hers.
Police say that the victim reported that she told Owens “no” repeatedly and said “I can’t do this,” but Owens asked “Why not?” and then said “Welcome to college” as he proceeded to rape her.
Police say Owen told them the girl seemed “receptive” and earlier this fall his case went before a jury, which found him guilty of criminal sexual contact in the 3rd, 4th and 5th degrees.