Superior man found guilty of raping woman after bowling date

20 July 2023

DULUTH A St. Louis County jury has found a Superior man guilty of raping a woman after a Hermantown bowling date last summer.

Dakota Daniel Thorstenson, 29, was convicted Thursday of kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree assault.

He still faces a number of additional felony charges in both St. Louis and Douglas counties involving another woman, who he allegedly abducted from a downtown Duluth bar and raped while holding her against her will at his Superior home.

According to court documents, the case on trial this week stemmed from an Aug. 10 date with a woman Thorstenson had met on Facebook. After leaving the bowling alley, they got into a verbal argument and Thorstenson, still driving, allegedly reached out with his left hand and started to choke the woman.

A criminal complaint states that the car then struck two objects one apparently a fire hydrant and they got out to look at the damage.

While outside the vehicle, the woman reported that Thorstenson started to punch her in the face and choke her again. She tried to crawl away, but he dragged her back. He forced her back into the vehicle, and her purse fell out. A citizen who turned the purse in to Duluth police said it was found near 2001 Anderson Road.

Minutes after the assault, Thorstenson allegedly forced the woman to have sex in the car with him, according to the complaint. The next thing she remembered was waking up in a bed at an apartment on the 1200 block of Faxon Street in Superior. The victim messaged her sister, who called 911. Superior police received the call at about 7:30 a.m. Aug. 11 and located Thorstenson and the victim in a room of the apartment.

The woman told officers that she asked to leave when the police arrived at the apartment, but Thorstenson told her not while the police were near. He locked the bedroom door and only allowed her to unlock it once officers threatened to kick the door in, according to the complaint. The woman described being fearful of leaving the residence alive.

The woman suffered numerous injuries, including a fractured clavicle and broken facial bones, according to emergency room records.

Thorstenson had additionally been charged in Douglas County with second-degree assault and false imprisonment, but prosecutors dismissed that complaint in October with District Attorney Mark Fruehauf saying Minnesota was the “most appropriate forum to prosecute that alleged conduct.”

Senior Judge Mary Yunker presided over the trial, which began with jury selection last week. It was prosecuted by Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Michael Hagley. Public defenders Rebecca Shaw and J.D. Schmid represented Thorstenson.

A sentencing date was not immediately listed.

Thorstenson faces the prospect of multiple additional trials on similar allegations. He is charged in three separate cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin for alleged crimes against a former girlfriend, including the July 2022 bar abduction and subsequent physical and sexual assault.

The pending charges include 11 felonies and one misdemeanor. No future trial dates have been set in either jurisdiction.


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