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Brittany Lawonn, Published July 16 2008

Bail set at $50K for 17-year-old accused of rape

FARGO – A judge set bail at $50,000 cash or bond Wednesday for a 17-year-old boy accused of raping a woman who police later found running along a street naked from the waist down.

Joshua Poitra, Belcourt, N.D., is charged with Class AA felony gross sexual imposition and Class C felony aggravated assault for the June 2 incident.

He told East Central District Judge Douglas Herman that his parents cannot afford such bail, and asked the judge to reconsider given his age.

“I’m trying to do something. I’m getting a GED,” Poitra said. “I ain’t no danger to the community.”

Poitra was arrested June 16 and originally told police he was 18. He was charged in adult court, but the case was transferred to juvenile court after he told the judge he was actually 17.

The case was moved back to adult court because North Dakota law requires individuals 14 or older to be charged in adult court if probable cause is shown that a serious crime, such as murder or rape, was committed.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Forum.