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Judge acquits Fargo man charged with sexual assault

Garlee Sumo

FARGO — Garlee Sumo was 19 years old when he was charged earlier this year with a Class AA felony count of gross sexual imposition, a charge that carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison.

Now, that charge, along with the case itself, has gone away after a judge ruled halfway through Sumo's jury trial this week that evidence presented by the prosecution did not support the charge that the Fargo man faced and an order of acquittal was filed.

Charging papers claimed Sumo forced a girl who was 16 or 17 to touch his penis during an incident reported to police in April. The girl told investigators Sumo forced his hand down her pants and penetrated her vagina with his fingers before she was able to flee his home and call 911.

Sumo’s attorney Mark Beauchene said that a judge granting an acquittal during the course of a trial, as part of what's called a Rule 29 motion, is unusual, but he's seen it happen before.

He added that another case remains pending against Sumo in Cass County District Court, a Class A misdemeanor charge of sexual assault of someone between 15 and 18 involving a different alleged victim.

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