DETROIT – A Sanilac County man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking a 15-year-old girl across state lines with the intent to sexually assault her.
Kenneth George Zehnder, 37, of Lexington, worked as an interstate truck driver. He was convicted of taking the girl on an interstate trucking trip in August 2019 and sexually assaulting her nearly every night inside the semi truck.
While in Minnesota, the girl sent a text to 911 for help. She reported being sexually assaulted by the driver of the truck and described where she was to dispatchers.
Police were able to locate her and the truck using the information she provided. Zehnder was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the girl in Minnesota.
After Zehnder was arrested, a 12-year-old girl reported to police that Zehnder took her on a different interstate truck trip earlier that summer and sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions.
Both children told officials that Zehnder had sexually assaulted them for years before he was arrested.
“The defendant in this case sexually abused his victims for years,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “Those same victims demonstrated remarkable courage, bravely reporting the crimes in the face of their abuser and helping to bring an end to the perpetrator’s abusive actions. The FBI and its law enforcement partners across the nation will continue working to protect our communities from predators like Mr. Zehnder whose actions cause incalculable damage to their young victims.”
Zehnder had previously been convicted of and served time for murder. He was discharged from parole in 2011.
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