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Kasson officer accused of New Mexico inmate sex assault

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Updated: 5:30 p.m. | Posted: 11:54 a.m.

A prison transport officer has been charged with sexually assaulting a female inmate in New Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico said Thursday a grand jury indicted 51-year-old James Baldinger, of Minnesota, on charges he also used a firearm to carry out the assault.

Baldinger appeared in federal court from Duluth, Minnesota.

He is facing two counts of committing civil rights offenses that resulted in bodily injury, including aggravated sexual abuse and the use of a deadly weapon. He also is charged with knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence.

A defense attorney listed for him did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

Baldinger could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges.