Trial date set for former Carlson adviser

Andy Steinke

A trial date has been set for a former Carlson School of Management undergraduate student adviser who allegedly sexually assaulted his neighbor’s 8-year-old daughter.

Candelario Zuniga, 56, is scheduled to appear before Judge Regina Chu in Hennepin County District Court Feb. 25, judicial clerk Cynthia Nelson said.

Zuniga was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree July 23, after an 8-year-old girl told her mother he molested her, according to court documents.

The maximum sentence for the felony charges is 30 years in prison and $35,000 in fines, Minnesota law stipulates.

Zuniga’s last day of work at the University was July 19, University spokesman Dan Wolter said. However, in a Minnesota Daily article dated July 25, Wolter said Zuniga was still considered a University employee.

Because he was not a public figure at the University, Wolter said the University can’t release information about whether Zuniga resigned from his position or was fired.

Minneapolis police arrested Zuniga in his office July 20 and was released from jail four days later after posting a bond of $75,000.

During Zuniga’s first appearance in Hennepin County District Court, Judge Peter Cahill ordered his release on several conditions.

The court ordered that Zuniga is prohibited from coming into contact with the victim’s family and anyone under the age of 18, except his son.

He also can’t live at his residence as long as his wife continues to operate her day-care business there.

On July 15, the girl told her mother that a neighbor, whom she later referred to as Candelario, had touched her inappropriately, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Brian Carlson reported.

The girl described conduct that had taken place approximately seven times at Zuniga’s house and at a nearby park around the time school ended last spring, according to court documents.

The girl also told police that Zuniga had taken a nude photo of her and had shown her pornographic images of other children.

The girl’s mother said her daughter was frequently at Zuniga’s house because there were other children for her to play with at the day-care center, according to court documents.

Zuniga’s advisees have been reassigned to another adviser, Wolter said in a July 25 Minnesota Daily article.

Zuniga had no prior record with Minneapolis police, and did not return several calls for comment.