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Fargo Taco Bell drive-thru groper sentenced to 3 months in jail

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FARGO – A Fargo man will serve three months in jail after pleading guilty to felony charges connected to two incidents last spring in which he grabbed the breasts of two female customers, offering one of them free food in exchange.

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Austin James Brady, 20, pleaded guilty Monday in Cass County District Court to counts of Class C felony breaking into a vehicle and Class B sexual assault. Brady does not have to register as a sex offender as part of his plea.

Cass County prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek said he wrestled with how much time to recommend for Brady in asking the judge for the 90-day jail term, plus three years of supervised probation.

Van de Streek said he believed Brady had perceived some of the women in the cars were intoxicated, adding, “I believe it’s very predatory conduct.”

However, he said, Brady had no previous criminal record before the incidents in March and April.

In separate cases, Brady asked a driver to pull out of the drive-thru lane, then grabbed the breasts of one of the women in the vehicle when he brought their food.

Brady told one of the women in the March incident that he would give them free food if they would party with him.

Brady’s attorney, Laura Lynn Reynolds, characterized the incidents to the court as mutual flirtations that got out of hand.

“They asked him if they could get free food, what would they have to do for it,” Reynolds said, adding that her client took it farther than he should have.

She said her client had taken full responsibility for his actions and asked Judge Wade Webb for a sentence of just probation, calling a 90-day stint in jail “harsh.”

Brady told the court he made a mistake.

“I honestly feel really, really bad – I’ve never made this kind of mistake before,” he said. “This isn’t how I was raised.”

Brady said in the wake of the charges he had a difficult time with his significant other, and he said he was let go from Taco Bell a week after the charges were filed in June. He worked at the Taco Bell at 2121 S. University Drive.

Webb doubted whether the incidents were merely a mistake, given Brady did it twice.

“This can’t be a mistake – you did it again,” the judge said.

Webb also required Brady to have no contact with the two women he groped and to participate in a full psychological diagnostic test as part of his sentence.

“You owe that to the victims,” he said.

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