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PONCA, Neb. -- A Wakefield man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl at a park.

Jose Gallardo mugshot

Gallardo

Jose Gallardo, 52, entered his plea Monday in Dixon County District Court to felony charges of third-degree sexual assault and child abuse. Charges of kidnapping, first-degree false imprisonment and terroristic threats will be dismissed. Sentencing was set for June 24.

According to court documents, the girl told authorities that in late May or early June she was in Graves Park in Wakefield when Gallardo grabbed her by the arm, put his hand over her mouth and told her not to scream or he would hurt her family.

The girl said that Gallardo led her to his pickup truck, drove her to a corner of the park, pulled her from the pickup and took her behind a concrete wall, where he touched her under her clothes until a car driving toward them startled Gallardo, and the girl was able to run away.

The Dixon County Sheriff's Office began an investigation in November after receiving a complaint from Gallardo's co-worker, who told authorities that Gallardo had confided in him about the incident.

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