Idaho man charged after alleged rape of woman outside Bemidji bar

John Jennings, 37, was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Beltrami County District Court on Monday, July 26.

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BEMIDJI -- An Idaho man allegedly raped a woman outside a Bemidji bar on Sunday, July 25.

John Jennings, 37, was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Beltrami County District Court on Monday, July 26 after law enforcement was called on Sunday night to Corner Bar in Bemidji after a witness reported a sexual assault.

Several people from Corner Bar went outside to find Jennings sexually assaulting the victim in the grass next to the parking lot, according to the criminal complaint.

Witnesses said they observed Jennings on top of the victim, pinning her arms down, and that the victim was screaming and crying. They told Jennings to get off of her, but he would not, the complaint said. Prior to the sexual assault, witnesses said the victim had been inside at the bar reading a book when Jennings approached the victim and began talking to her.

According to the complaint, the victim said that she expressed to Jennings -- who she met that night when he approached her -- that she didn't want to have sex with him and believes she told him no at least twice. The victim described she felt pursued in the bar by Jennings.


Witnesses then observed Jennings and the victim leave the bar together, both had been drinking. The victim believed they were going outside to have a cigarette and thought Jennings was going to walk her home, the complaint said.

The victim said once they were outside, Jennings became forceful, removed her clothing and forced penetration. She described being scared and feeling like she couldn't move, stating she knows she told him no. The victim explained she didn't want it to happen, especially not right outside of the bar, but felt like she didn't have the ability to stop him.

Later a witness came into the bar and told people inside it appeared someone was getting raped outside in the parking lot. Law enforcement was called and bar patrons went outside to confront the situation.

According to the complaint, Jennings was staying at the DoubleTree Hotel. When asked by law enforcement what he was doing in Bemidji, he stated he was "in Bemidji getting drunk."

The defendant's criminal record shows he carries a criminal history in Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, Alaska, Utah and Idaho.

His next court appearance is Monday, Aug. 9.

Madelyn Haasken is the multimedia editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a 2020 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Mass Communication, with minors in writing and design. In her free time, she likes watching hockey, doing crossword puzzles and being outside.
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