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Published February 13 2012

Trial set in Moorhead blackmail/rape case

MOORHEAD – A jury trial is set for April 10 for a Moorhead man accused of blackmailing and raping a 16-year-old girl in July.

William John Earles was indicted Sept. 14 by a Clay County grand jury on charges of third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of child pornography by a predatory offender, manufacture of child pornography, coercion and engaging in prostitution with a minor under the age of 18 but over the age of 16.

Earles, 52, entered not guilty pleas to the charges on Monday and waived a hearing to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to continue to trial.

Assistant County Attorney Pamela Harris said she expects the trial to last four to five days.

The teenage girl told police Earles raped her and threatened to expose nude pictures of her and a sex video if she didn’t clean his house in skimpy costumes.