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Charges: Accused rapist broke into home, zip-tied and assaulted woman in Winona

The 30-year-old defendant has been charged with 18 felonies.
Zane Robert Pederson

A 30-year-old Spicer man is facing 18 felony charges – 15 for criminal sexual conduct – and is being held in Winona County Jail with bail set at $2 million. 

An amended indictment against Zane Robert Pederson covers a wide range of alleged crimes, including sexual assault, burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and threats of violence. 

According to a criminal complaint, Pederson is accused of breaking into a woman's home in Winona around 1 a.m. Nov. 18, 2018, then approaching her as she slept. The woman awoke to find him standing at the end of her bed in a mask and holding a handgun. 

Police say Pederson zip-tied the woman's hands behind her back, before raping her three times over a five-hour period, placing a handgun by her face during the third assault. The woman's child was in the home the entire time. 

At one point, Pederson allegedly told the woman that "he was a rapist, not a monster," which he claimed to be a joke. 

Pederson is alleged to have threatened to kill both the woman and her child, warning her that "he would hate" to go to her child's school and he "would hate to kill her child," the complaint says. 

Pederson left the woman's home around 6 a.m. the same day. 

On March 6, investigators searched Pederson's home and found articles of clothing belonging the victim, leading to an interview in which Pederson admitted to being in the woman's home the night of the assaults. He said he was using methamphetamine at the time, telling investigators that the sex was consensual and that the victim initiated the first sexual encounter. 

Investigators found DNA samples that matched Pederson from a separate pending sexual assault investigation, which the West Central Tribune reports is a case in which he's accused of sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult at a group home where he worked in Kandiyohi County. 

Five of the felonies Pederson faces are for criminal sexual conduct with at least two heinous acts, which can include creating inhumane conditions, torture or using a dangerous weapon. Five criminal sexual conduct charges allege one heinous act was committed, and five more do not include heinous acts. 

The three other amended charges are for first-degree burglary. 

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