Clay County Jail Inmate on Work Release Accused of Sexual Assault

Court documents say Cookson sexually assaulted the woman last Wednesday in Hitterdal

CLAY COUNTY, Minn. — Prosecutors say a Clay County jail inmate sexually assaulted a woman after he was allowed work release.

Twenty-eight-year-old Alexander Cookson of Hawley has been in custody awaiting trial for a number of charges including malicious punishment of a child.

Court documents say Cookson sexually assaulted the woman last Wednesday in Hitterdal.

Clay County Attorney Bran Melton says despite objections from prosecutors and jail staff, Judge Steven Cahill ordered work release for Cookson, even though he failed to report to jail in October, and tested positive for drugs in jail last month.

Judge Cahill said “in hindsight, I shouldn’t have done it.”

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