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Wendy Reuer, Published July 06 2012

Mother charged with hindering sex assault investigation of daughter

FARGO – A Fargo woman is charged with trying to hinder the investigation of a man accused of sexually assaulting her 12-year-old daughter by telling police that the girl recanted.

Anthony Dashawn Sells, 37, was charged Friday in Cass County District Court with one count of gross sexual imposition, a Class AA felony. An arrest warrant was issued for Sells as well as his girlfriend, who is the mother of the alleged victim. She also faces a felony charge of hindering a police investigation filed Friday.

Although The Forum does not typically conceal the identities of those charged with an alleged crime, the newspaper has chosen not to identify the woman at this time to help protect the identity of the juvenile victim. The Forum does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

According to court records, police were called on June 24 to the home Sells shares with the woman, the alleged victim and two other children, ages 7 and 3.

The alleged victim told police that during a night in February, she woke up to Sells performing a sex act on her, according to court documents.

The woman’s sister told police that the night before the girl talked to authorities, she revealed to the family what she said happened in February.

According to the police report, investigators then set up a June 27 interview that was supposed to include Sells, the mother and her child. Instead, only the woman arrived. She told police her daughter was recanting her story, court documents said.

The woman said the other children were staying with family or guardians and the alleged victim was staying with her grandmother in St. Cloud, Minn.

The next week, the woman’s family contacted police. The woman’s sister told officers the woman had tried to coerce her daughter into recanting, telling her Sells would go to jail and it would be all her fault. She also told the girl she would be taken away from her family, court records say.

In court documents, family members of both the mother and Sells told police they believe the couple is on the run. The woman left a note with her employer asking that her last paycheck be forwarded to Gary, Ind.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530