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Published March 06 2012

Hillsboro, N.D., soldier convicted of rape in 2010 Fargo house party

FARGO – An Army soldier from Hillsboro has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a woman in September 2010 at a house party near the North Dakota State University campus.

A jury of nine officers convicted Daniel Rude, 22, of forcible rape and wrongful sexual contact, said Jean Offutt, public affairs officer at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where Rude was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment.

Rude had served in the Army for four years and eight months, including deployments to Iraq in 2009 and 2010, before his general court-martial was held Feb. 6-9 at Fort Bliss, according to Offutt and police reports.

In addition to the prison time, Rude received a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and loss of benefits, Offutt said. He will also register as a sex offender, she said.

Rude will serve his sentence at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.

Fargo police continue to investigate the case, in which Rude and another man at the house party are accused of picking up a sleeping woman, carrying her to a bedroom across the hall and raping her, according to police reports.

The other man allegedly involved is not in the military and has not been arrested or charged, Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said.

Police reports state the victim told investigators she went to the party with four friends, and they all had been drinking. Later in the night, she went downstairs with a friend who wasn’t feeling good and they eventually fell asleep.

The victim told police she woke up to two men – both of whom she had known for a couple of years – carrying her to a room across the hall. She said they forcibly pulled her clothes off and took turns having sex with her, with one holding her down while the other raped her.

The woman said she told the men “no” several times and tried to fight them off, at one point elbowing one of them in the chest. When it was over, one of the men touched her shoulder and said, “I’m sorry” before they left the room, she told police.

A female acquaintance of Rude’s told a Fargo detective she had known him for some time, as both were from Hillsboro, and that when she saw him after he came back from the Army, he had changed. When the detective asked her what she meant, she said Rude was now “creepy.”

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division opened a case in October 2010 and prosecuted the case because Rude was an active-duty soldier, Offutt said.

The evidence gathered included DNA samples from Rude and the victim, police reports show.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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