OSAGE | An Osage man pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in an attack on a girl in April in which he threw her into a ditch in rural Mitchell County.

Timothy Eugene Hines, 43, on Tuesday entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt but acknowledging a plea agreement is in his best interest — to a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse resulting in injury in Mitchell County District Court.

Hines, who had been out on bond, was taken into custody following the Tuesday plea pending sentencing, which has been set for March.

The charge is punishable by up to five years behind bars and 10 years on the sex offender registry, and prosecutor Aaron Murphy said he plans to seek prison time for Hines.

Murphy said had the case gone to trial, testimony would show that Hines was driving the 14-year-old girl from Mason City to Osage on April 17, 2018, when he began rubbing her thigh and started taking back roads, eventually ending up on Lime Kiln Road.

The girl became “freaked out” by Hines’ behavior and left the vehicle and began walking away when he parked, Murphy said. He said Hines followed her, pushed her into a ditch and ripped her shirt open.

The girl escaped and went to a nearby house for help.

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Murphy said physical findings backed up the girl’s account. Court records show there was evidence of a struggle in the ditch where the girl’s muddy and bent-up glasses were found. Authorities also found a folding knife and a roll of duct tape, records state.

The girl suffered abrasions to her back and hip and had a red mark on her left eye socket, according to statements in court.

Defense attorney Letitia Turner said Hines opted for an Alford plea in part because he had no memory of the event. She said they had explored an intoxication or diminished capacity defense but ultimately ruled it out.

Court records show a relative told investigators that Hines had been taking Xanax pills without a prescription at the time of the attack, and investigators found a marijuana pipe.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will drop a third-degree kidnapping charge, Turner said.

North Iowa's mugshots of 2018

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