ST. CLOUD -- A St. Stephen man can avoid prison time for sexually assaulting a young girl if he abides by the conditions of his probation.

In June, 67-year-old Dale Smith pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, sex with a victim under 16-years-old, multiple acts and within a significant relationship.

A Stearns County judge sentenced Smith to 12 years in prison but stayed the term for up to 30 years if Smith abides by numerous provisions of probation and remains law abiding. The judge also sentenced Smith to a year in the county jail which he will serve in 30-day increments every three months. He can serve the time through the work release program.

Smith will be on supervised probation for up to 30 years and must abide by several conditions like registering as a predatory offender, avoiding mood-altering chemicals, submit to random searches and random testing.

According to the criminal complaint, the girl, who is now 14-years-old, told authorities that her mother's ex-boyfriend sexually assaulted her in the fall of 2014, the spring of 2015 and the winter of 2015.  The girl also told investigators she believed Smith sexually assaulted her on other occasions while she was sleeping because she would wake up naked and sore.

The mother told authorities she believed she saw Smith trying to grab her breasts and also saw Smith in the girl's bed with his butt cheek exposed.

Smith initially denied the charges, but the criminal complaint shows he later admitted to the sexual assault.

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