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Wadena man faces six sex crimes

A Wadena man was charged April 21 with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, allegedly involving three girls ranging in age from 6 to 12.

Steven Ray Branstner, 49, was investigated in March for allegedly having sexual relationships with the three girls. One of the girls said she saw the 12-year-old sleep in the same bed as Branstner many times and thought it was "icky," court documents said.

The children were interviewed by a social worker on March 26. One of the girls told her mother that the defendant had touched her in the vaginal area during "movies at Steve's house," and another girl said she had been touched over the clothing in inappropriate areas. The oldest girl admitted she was having sex with Branstner since February 2010, according to a court complaint.

The 6-year-old reported Branstner touched her "inside [her] private spot ... lots of times. Mostly everyday I go there," court records said.