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2 men charged with felony sex assault in UNK case plead no contest to reduced counts

2 men charged with felony sex assault in UNK case plead no contest to reduced counts

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KEARNEY, Neb. — A felony sexual assault charge has been dismissed against two men accused of assaulting a woman on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus in 2018.

Prestin Melroy, 20, of Kearney pleaded no contest April 10 in Buffalo County District Court to misdemeanor third-degree assault of a woman on Nov. 4, 2018.

On April 14, he pleaded no contest in Buffalo County Court to misdemeanor third-degree assault of another woman, also on Nov. 4, 2018.

Court records detailing the incidents are sealed.

Prestin Melroy

Prestin Melroy

Zachary Reikofski

Zachary Reikofski

Melroy was previously charged with felony first-degree sexual assault of the first woman and third-degree sexual assault of the second woman.

The charges were reduced by prosecutors with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. A no contest plea is neither an admission nor denial of guilt, but the plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.

The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted Melroy’s cases because of a conflict of interest within the Buffalo County Attorney’s Office. The state attorneys couldn’t be reached for comment on why the felony charges were dismissed.

Melroy’s cases were previously set for trial, but the pleas eliminate the need for a trial.

Judge Ryan Clark accepted Melroy’s plea in District Court and found him guilty, while Judge Michael Mead found Melroy guilty in County Court.

The State Administrative Office of Probation was ordered to conduct a presentence investigation of Melroy, including a substance abuse and sex offender evaluation.

The findings of that investigation — including background information on the defendant, his family and his criminal and employment history — will help the judges issue an appropriate sentence.

The sentencing for both cases will be in July. Melroy faces up to one year in jail on each count.

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At the time of the incidents, UNK sent a campuswide email saying the university had received a report of a sexual assault in a residence hall. UNK spokesman Todd Gottula declined to say which residence hall.

A second campuswide email said that two suspects had been arrested and that the suspects and the victim were acquaintances.

Zachary Reikofski, 20, of Fairbury was also charged with felony first-degree sexual assault in connection with one of the assaults. But the felony charge was dismissed, and he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor third-degree assault.

The Office of Probation will also conduct a presentence investigation of Reikofski, including a substance abuse and sex offender evaluation.

Neither Melroy nor Reikofski are currently UNK students, Gottula said.

Both men remain free on bail.

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