A Burnsville man has been charged with soliciting a 12-year-old girl for sex online and arranging to meet her last week at Burnsville Center.
Dale Christopher Steffen, 42, is charged with two felonies: second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine, and solicitation of a minor to engage in sexual conduct, which has a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Steffen, who was arrested July 27 and made his first appearance on the charges Monday, remains in the Dakota County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim’s family contacted Burnsville police July 19 to report that Steffen had sexually assaulted the child, who is the niece of one of Steffen’s acquaintances.
The child told officers that Steffen had inappropriately touched her while she was at his Burnsville home. She said Steffen had “touched, rubbed and squeezed” her “chest, legs and private parts” on at least 10 occasions.
The girl said Steffen touched her in the swimming pool at his home or in an attic-type room in his garage.
Steffen also called and sent sexually explicit text messages to the girl, according to the complaint. The girl’s cell-phone records show numerous text messages from Steffen between July 17 and July 27. The child told police that Steffen’s first text message was sent late at night, and that he told her to make sure to delete all the messages.
On July 27, Steffen sent a text message to the girl, telling her that he was at work and wanted to meet her, according to the complaint. Investigators responded to the message using the victim’s phone, telling him that she was at Burnsville Center and giving him a specific location in which to meet her.
When Steffen arrived at Burnsville Center, he was arrested.
An omnibus hearing in Steffen’s case is scheduled Aug. 21 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.