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Forum News Service, Published January 09 2014

Grand Forks man could be sentenced to life for sex assaults on girl

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A Grand Forks man pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing a girl for six years, beginning when she was 6.

Matthew Lyons, 37, faces up to life in prison on the Class AA felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. He also pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge of child neglect or abuse.

Lyons rejected an offer from prosecutors of life in prison and instead entered an “open plea,” of guilty, leaving his sentence up to state District Judge Sonja Clapp. Sentencing was set for March 27.

Meredith Larson, assistant state’s attorney for Grand Forks County, said Lyons’ assaults continued until the girl reported them to a friend’s mother last summer and then talked to police.

Lyons admitted to the accusations at his arrest in August, investigators said. He’s been in the Grand Forks County jail since under $250,000 bond.

Larson said Lyons admitted that from mid-2007 until last summer he regularly committed several kinds of sexual assaults on the girl.