A Redwood County District Court jury found a Redwood Falls man guilty of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, county attorney Jenna Peterson announced this past Friday (Jan. 10).

The jury deliberated for most of the afternoon Wednesday, Jan. 8 before delivering the guilty verdicts around 3:30 p.m.

Marcel Dylan Zephier, 29, was found guilty for sexually assaulting a minor female victim in the summer of 2011. 

According to the criminal complaint and testimony at trial, the assault in this case occurred in the summer of 2011 when the victim was nine years old.

Shannon Ness, assistant Redwood County attorney, who prosecuted the case, told the jury in her closing argument, “In that moment, (the) defendant made a choice. He decided he was going to rape (the) victim. No one was in that house to hear (the) victim’s screams as (the) defendant pushed her into his bedroom. His domain. No one was there to hear (the) victim scream as (the) defendant forced her onto his bed. Her screams turned to sobs after (the) defendant hit her multiple times and told her to shut up. She stopped kicking, screaming and fighting because he was bigger, heavier, older, and stronger than her. She stopped kicking, screaming, and fighting because she knew she couldn’t get away.”

After enduring this horrific assault Zephier threatened to hurt the victim and her family if she were to tell anyone what happened.

“This is sexual assault in the real world especially when the victim is a minor. Fear of the perpetrator often surpasses strength to tell anyone what has happened. Instead, victims carry this burden around with them. In this case, the victim was crippled with fear that outweighed her voice for almost eight years before she found the power and courage to disclose what Mr. Zephier did to her. We hope her voice is an inspiration to others who continue to suffer in silence,” Peterson said.

Zephier will be sentenced Feb. 24 at the Redwood County Courthouse.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence there are multiple local resources available in the area, including the Women’s Rural Advocacy Program, New Horizon’s Crisis Center, Minnesota Indigenous Women’s Society and the Redwood County Attorney’s Victim Services coordinator.