Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Update: El Sombrero, 15th Street West open after natural gas line repaired

Advertisement

Dunn Center rape case to go to trial: Defendant says sex was consensual

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
News Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

MANNING — A Dunn Center man will go to trial for an alleged rape that seriously injured a woman, though he said the sex was consensual.

Advertisement
Advertisement
0 Talk about it

At a preliminary hearing Thursday, Dunn County Assistant State’s Attorney Pat Merriman laid out the state’s case against Jeffery Thibault, who’s charged with rape and reckless endangerment.

Dunn County Detective Ron McCloud, a lead investigator on the case, testified that victim “Jane Doe” blacked out over a few hours in early November during which Thibault allegedly raped her so forcefully she had hemorrhaging and lost liters of blood, and then left her.

But Thibault said in a law enforcement interview after the incident that the victim wanted to have sex after a night at the bar and that any injuries were a result of the vigorousness of their sex.

After both sides’ arguments, Southwest Judicial District Judge William Herauf said while the state’s case has “some holes,” the woman’s bruising and substantial bleeding met the probable cause burden needed to send the case to trial.

After left bleeding, the woman “could’ve ended up basically dying,” Herauf said.

Thibault, who had multiple family members at the hearing, pleaded not guilty on all counts.

McCloud said on the morning of Nov. 8, he was called to investigate an alleged rape. He first made contact with the woman at the St. Joseph’s Hospital emergency room the morning after, where she detailed “blacking out” after agreeing to drive Thibault home — the last thing she remembered before waking up groggily in an unfamiliar place was putting her car in park at his Dunn Center home.

She told McCloud she had had dinner with her roommate at the DC Pub and Grub, aka Lake Ilo Bar, in Dunn Center. Her roommate left, but the woman remained until about 1 a.m., drinking a total of three alcoholic beverages. At some point, she encountered Thibault, a cook there, whom she had dated briefly in the past.

After she woke up from her self-described blackout, she had a spotty recollection of driving home, she told McCloud. Upon discovering her injuries, she and her roommate went to the ER. There, doctors performed a rape inspection and also discovered hand-shaped bruises on her leg and throat.

She selected Thibault’s photo from a lineup that day. She also had surgery later that day for a wound that resulted from the intercourse.

Significant evidence in the state’s case is the trail of blood found around Thibault’s home and a recreational vehicle on the same lot, as well as at “Jane Doe’s” residence.

According to law enforcement interviews with family members, Thibault had said the blood at their house was because “he had been out with a virgin.” As part of the investigation, McCloud interviewed a friend of Thibault’s, who recounted Thibault telling him about the sex, and that the woman bled.

Defense attorney Kevin McCabe said the state presented no evidence to show the woman did not know the two were having sex, as the charges allege.

When he was arrested the night after the incident, Thibault said the sex was consensual but never expressed concerns for the woman’s injuries, McCloud said, and did not seek medical attention for her.

McCabe, in cross-examining McCloud, pointed out how the state has filed multiple complaints changing its charges in this case — the most recent filing was just the evening prior to the preliminary hearing. McCloud and others had misread the toxicology report from the woman’s blood; they had believed she had a “roofie”-type drug in her system the morning after the incident, but she did not, which led them to amend their charges at the last minute.

The victim, who is now believed to be living in another state, did not appear at the hearing. McCabe tried to have the charges dismissed immediately Thursday, saying “Jane Doe” was required to appear, but Herauf said that wasn’t necessary. Merriman said she’ll be available for deposition and trial.

Advertisement
Katherine Lymn
(701) 456-1211
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness