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Clapper granted bond reduction in multiple felony case

Clapper, Jesse 001.JPG
Jesse R. Clapper

A Scranton resident has been granted a bond reduction in a felony case.

Jesse Robert Clapper, 43, was charged in May with two counts of gross sexual imposition, a Class A felony, and two counts of burglary, a Class B felony.

According to the criminal complaint, Clapper committed gross sexual imposition when he "engaged in a sexual act with another" and "compelled the victim by force."

Clapper was given $50,000 cash bond from Judge Dann Greenwood.

Appearing in Stark County District Court Monday, Clapper's bond was reduced by Judge Rhonda Ehlis to $25,000 with 10 percent surety.

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Clapper has been incarcerated since making his initial appearance, a total of 71 days, as his family has not been able to post bond.

Clapper's attorney, Steven J. Fischer, of Bismarck, argued that Clapper has "ample ties to the community" and family in the area, and has lived in Bowman County most of his life.

Though he lost his job due to his incarceration, he has been offered another in the region.

The strength of the evidence against Clapper also justifies a lower bond, Fischer said.

"By (the alleged victim's) own account, her memory was in-and-out the entire time of the incident in question and she described herself as being blackout drunk," he said. "Her memory, with regard to the alleged incident, is weak."

Addressing the burglary charges, it was conceded at Clapper's preliminary hearing that there was no evidence of forced entry into the residence, Fischer noted.

"No negative interaction, no confrontation with the 17-year-old minor who was present at the time," Fischer said. "No indication that the door was locked, for either the first or second entry. No indication Mr. Clapper made any surrepticious entry."

Fischer asked the court to consider that a "potentially innocent man" was being incarcerated.

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Bowman County State's Attorney Andrew J.Q. Weiss said the bond was based on the serious nature of the alleged crimes, to assure he would appear in court, and for the protection of the community.

"As far as the evidence for the case, the alleged victim was drinking and intoxicated at that time," he said. "However, her recollection of the events is collaborated by sober witnesses, and the defendant's own admissions to law enforcement."

He added, "The state's case is strong in this matter."

Ehlis granted the reduction as Clapper did not have a history of failing to appear.

She ordered that he must participate in a 24-7 alcohol program and can have no contact with the alleged victim.

"In this particular case, I'm really not inclined to give second chances," she told Clapper. "You have one drop to drink, you're going to be sitting. Because I find this is a very concerning case, and I am concerned about the safety of the community."

In North Dakota, a Class A felony carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine, and minimum fines totaling $1,025. A Class B felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine, and minimum fines totaling $775.

A felony jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 9 a.m.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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