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Minnesota man charged after alleged assault in church

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Lindon Roy Knutson, 61, of Bemidji, Minn., is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree assault, aggravated robbery and theft for allegedly beating and robbing a 73-year-old woman Tuesday afternoon at Crow River Lutheran Church.

According to Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog, deputies were dispatched about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday to the rural Belgrade church in northern Kandiyohi County.

The woman was taken by private party to Paynesville Hospital, where she remained Wednesday.

The sheriff's department issued a description, based on the victim's statement, of Knutson and his vehicle statewide to law enforcement agencies.

After the incident the man fled in a vehicle, and the sheriff's office issued a description of the Bemidji man and his vehicle statewide to law enforcement.

About two hours later, a police officer in Cosmos, Minn., spotted the vehicle and stopped him for a traffic violation. He was taken into custody after further investigation by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office and is currently in the county jail.

The West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn., is owned by Forum Communications Co.