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Zumhofe pleads not guilty in sex case, trial in September

WILLMAR — Eugene Otto Zumhofe, 62, of Cyrus, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 12 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct for having sexual contact with a young woman approximately 1,800 times between 1999 and 2011.

Zumhofe entered the plea before District Judge David L. Mennis in Kandiyohi County District Court. Mennis set jury trial dates for Sept. 23 to 27 in the case, and at the request of Zumhofe’s attorney, lowered Zumhofe’s conditional bail to $50,000.

Attorney Robert Schaps told Mennis that it was outside of Zumhofe’s ability to raise the $10,000 required for a bond on $100,000 bail. Zumhofe has been in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $500,000 unconditional bail and $100,000 conditional bail since May 27.

“$100,000 is excessive,” Schaps said, noting that Zumhofe has family and a significant other in the region, can abide by the conditions of release and isn’t going to go anywhere if he is released on bail.

County Attorney Jenna Fischer said after the hearing that she was disappointed that Mennis lowered the bail. During the hearing, she argued that the bail issue had been addressed before, at a prior hearing, and that Zumhofe previously submitted to a psychosexual evaluation and that officials found he was at a high risk to reoffend.

Two other hearings were scheduled in the case, on Sept. 9 and Sept. 18.

Zumhofe is a former professional wrestler who performed as Buck “Rock n’ Roll” Zumhofe in the 1980s and early 1990s.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman reported to law enforcement in April that Zumhofe began having sexual contact with her when she was 15, in June 1999, and that the abuse continued until 2011. The woman, who is now 29, reported the abuse after seeking therapy and medical care in 2012.

The abuse began when she moved into Zumhofe’s home in June 1999 in New London. She alleges that approximately 1,800 separate acts of sexual abuse occurred during those years. Some took place in Kandiyohi County and some in Pope County, as Zumhofe moved to Cyrus in 2001.

Another adult tried to remove the woman from Zumhofe’s presence when she was a teenager. However, he threatened to kill himself and told the victim that it would be her fault, so she stayed, according to the complaint.

Since the woman left Zumhofe, he has become violent, according to the complaint, and has threatened the woman, her husband and others. He has also threatened suicide.

Zumhofe has a prior conviction for criminal sexual conduct in 1989 in Carver County and served a 36-month prison sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater. He was also convicted of violating a domestic abuse order for protection in 1999 in Kandiyohi County.

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