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Sanilac County trucker sent to prison for sexually assaulting teen

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SANILAC COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - An over the road truck driver from Sanilac County was sentenced to 30 years in a federal penitentiary for sexually assaulting a teenage girl repeatedly on a cross-country trip.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 37-year-old Kenneth George Zehnder of Lexington pleaded guilty to bringing a 15-year-old girl out of Michigan in August 2019 to sexually assault her.

The girl says Zehnder sexually abused her nearly every night on an interstate trucking trip. She texted 911 from the cab of Zehnder's truck after a sexual encounter in Minnesota, which led to his arrest.

Investigators say a surveillance video inside Zehnder's truck shows him leave the driver's seat when the assault happened, head into the sleeping quarters and emerge while pulling up his pants.

Later, a 12-year-old girl made similar allegations against Zehnder. She told police that he took her on a cross-country trip earlier in the summer of 2019 and sexually assaulted her numerous times.

Both girls told investigators that Zehnder sexually assaulted them for years before the their trucking trips with him.

"This sentence holds this offender responsible for the damage and terror he inflicted on this minor," said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. "I applaud her bravery for notifying the police and bringing him to justice."

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