West Concord man makes plea deal in criminal sexual conduct case - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

West Concord man makes plea deal in criminal sexual conduct case

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It's a decision in court that is leaving a father stunned, and disappointed. A West Concord man accused of molesting juveniles and his ex-wife pleads guilty, but won't serve jail time.

33-year-old Mark Ott pleaded guilty to 2nd and 4th degree criminal sexual conduct charges with victims under the age of 13. However, under an Alford plea deal, Ott will not go to jail.
    
Ott was accused of having sexual contact with two young girls between 2011 and 2014. He was also accused of forcing his ex-wife to have sex with him against her will in 2011.

He will be convicted on two charges, involving juvenile female victims, one a family member. It turns out many factors play a part in why Ott will walk free and not be put behind bars--a sentence many believe he deserves.

"This man is going to walk our streets. This man is going to continue to be free, and all he is going to get is up to 270 days in jail," Jamie Haasch points out, his daughter a victim. "Where is the justice? Where do I look at my child at the end of the night and say you got justice?"

Ott's two felony convictions, including one involving Haasch's daughter, could give Ott 25 years probation, sex offender registration and sex offender treatment programming. No prison time.

It's an outcome that is spawning outrage in Haasch's family, as well as a big question. Why?

"Certainly, we were very confident that we had a guilty person," says Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. "Proving up every level and every element is a challenge and we had some issues. The cases that we take to trial are never as clean as we would like them to be."

"It's never easy in those circumstances trying to make a decision," says Ott's attorney, Zach Bauer, of Meshbesher and Spence. He says evidence the judge would allow in court could have cost Ott the trial.

"If that evidence comes into trial, there's a substantial likelihood that he could be found guilty, and with Mark, he was looking at the potential exposure for upwards of 17 to 18 years if he was convicted," Bauer says.

It's a sentence Haasch wanted, especially after Ott admitted having sexual contact with his teenage daughter for months. Yet, issues on both the prosecution and defense with landing a certain win in court, led to a plea deal--and it's causing Haasch to make a plea of his own.

"At the end of the letter I stated to them that I want to make sure that Mark Ott will be charged and held accountable for his actions in these cases," he says. "Plus, I need to show my daughter that there is justice in the legal system for her and what he has done to her and my family."

Haasch also expressed concern with how the case was handled on the investigation side and with Victims Services. He alleges both parties told his daughter she would likely not win a case given the length of time that had passed since her last encounter with Ott. It was a blow, Haasch says, that led her to attempt suicide. He says he hopes one day, justice can be served for his daughter and family.

Ostrem tells us, although it is difficult to see it through this lens, it is safer for the community for Ott to receive treatment and be under surveillance here, than serve a prison sentence and be released without treatment.

Ott's sentencing is set for January 20, and his disposition will dramatically impact Ott's life. According to attorneys, the sentence would limit his ability to find housing, employment, and restrict where he can go and when he can go to those places, even a trip to the grocery store.
 


    

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