DAKOTA COUNTY, Minn. (FOX 9) - In a unique case in Dakota County, a district court judge has handed a sexual predator a 15-year sentence for a rape he committed in Apple Valley.
Kyle Tweed, who has been convicted of raping women in the past, was sentenced Tuesday for the September 2019 assault. What made this case different, Tweed’s victim had died from an unrelated health condition before Tweed was ever arrested.
Following sentencing, the victim’s mother told FOX 9’s Paul Blume, "It meant she was being heard. It meant that she was being validated. And it brought a sense of satisfaction, a sense of closure, a sense of dignity. Like her life mattered, her experience mattered. In that sense, justice was served for her. And for me it helps with my grieving a little bit."
The brave, still grieving mother asked to conceal the identity of her family. She shared her pain and anguish through an emotional victim impact statement in Judge Jamie Cork’s courtroom.
"I wanted to paint a picture of my child because nobody met her. And to let them know what kind of person she was, how wonderful she was, what her true character was, as opposed to the one that was assassinated in the proceedings," she explained.
The woman went on to say, she hopes her daughter’s case can be an example for the rest of the criminal justice system after a jury found Tweed guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct at trial.
Because the victim died before Tweed was arrested and faced a judge, his legal team fought to have the charges tossed out, arguing there was no way she could be cross-examined.
But prosecutors prevailed by using a combination of evidence including statements the woman made to authorities in the immediate aftermath of the assault as well as the testimony of prior victims Tweed had raped in the past, including Megan Curtis.
"He is a serial rapist. He is a sexual predator, and he needs to be incarcerated to protect the public," stated Curtis.
For the mother at the heart of this particular prosecution, she will never forget some of the final conversations she had with her dying daughter, "She started crying and she says, ‘Mom, I'm really sorry about being raped and bringing all that stress onto you and the family.’ I said, ‘this is not your fault. And I've been telling her, it's not her fault for a long time,’ but she still felt that heaviness and loneliness of not having any resolution with what happened. That moment will forever be engraved in my memory. And this is justice for that, too."
Tweed’s victims describe his M.O. as taking advantage of women in his social circle when they have had too much to drink or are otherwise unable to give consent.
In addition to the 15-year maximum sentence under state guidelines Judge Cork imposed, she also ordered Tweed to register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life. Additionally, the Judge placed Tweed on lifetime conditional release, meaning the potential for a return to prison for any subsequent law breaking once he is released.
Tweed’s defense attorney declined to comment following the proceedings.