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Dunn Center rape charges dismissed

Rape and reckless endangerment charges against a Dunn Center man have been dismissed because the victim is too ill to participate in the case.

Jeffery Thibault faced charges of rape and reckless endangerment related to a November incident in Dunn Center. A woman says she woke up from a self-described blackout with injuries after agreeing to drive Thibault home from the bar. An emergency room examination the following day found hand-shaped bruises on her leg and throat, and serious hemorrhaging.

Defense attorney Kevin McCabe said at the February preliminary hearing that the sex between Thibault and the woman was consensual, but rough.

However, unrelated health ailments have stalled the case. The woman needs to undergo serious treatment for cancer, and thus can’t travel to be deposed or testify for the case, Dunn County Assistant State’s Attorney Pat Merriman said.

Southwest Judicial District Judge Dann Greenwood on July 17 dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning Merriman can bring the charges against Thibault again if and when the victim is able to participate in the trial.

"She’s gotta get healthy and, No. 2, we can’t keep this guy in holding forever because the state constitution’s not gonna allow it," Merriman said. "So all we can do at that point is dismiss the charges."

Until the charges were dismissed, Thibault was under bond conditions that required him to check in with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office daily and not leave the state.

Merriman said the general statute of limitations on Class B felonies like Thibault faced are at least seven years.

"Not anything that’s gonna expire soon," he said.