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Man pleads guilty to sex crime with vulnerable adult

Douglas Jack Cruser, 19, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Beltrami County District Court before Judge Paul Benshoof to serious felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a mentally impaired or helpless victim.

His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 27.

According to the criminal complaint, at 7:24 p.m. Sept. 2, a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy responded to a report from a Bemidji REM assisted living home for adults with mental retardation or substantial psychiatric disorders. Cruser, a REM staff member, had sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman resident of the home. The assault occurred late Aug. 30 or in the early morning of Aug. 31. The victim was taken Sept. 2 to North Country Regional Hospital Emergency Unit for evaluation.

The victim told the deputy that Cruser had arrived at work where she resided at about 11 p.m. Aug. 30 when the other REM residents were already asleep. She said at about midnight Cruser took his clothes off and then undressed her and had sex with her. A REM staff member said the incident was reported as soon as the report of sexual assault was discovered by overhearing the victim tell her foster mother about it earlier on Sept. 2.

Cruser said he and the 22-year-old female REM resident had sexual intercourse on the night of Aug. 30-31, as well as about two weeks earlier.

He also said he had been investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl in Illinois, but the case was never pursued by Illinois authorities.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim suffers from significant or substantial psychiatric disorders of thought or mood and lacks the judgment to give reasoned consent to sexual contact or sexual penetration. Cruser said he knew about her psychological or psychiatric condition because he had reviewed her chart and knew she was sexually vulnerable to men.

The maximum penalty for serious felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a mentally impaired victim is 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.