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Emily Welker, Published May 01 2013

Judge: Enough evidence for Davies sexual assault case to go to trial

FARGO – Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin ruled Wednesday there is enough probable cause for a sexual assault case against an 18-year-old Davies High School student to go to trial.

Borris Dahn is charged with one count of Class C felonious restraint, and three Class B misdemeanors of sexual assault, simple assault and disorderly conduct.

Dahn’s public defender claimed Wednesday during a contested probable cause hearing that the incident at the school had its roots in a racial slur the 16-year-old victim allegedly hurled at Dahn a week before the March 4 incident.

“The individual had been recently suspended for calling Borris the n-word?” Charlie Sheeley asked Fargo police detective Nick Kjonaas during the hearing.

Kjonaas, one of the incident’s investigators and the only witness Wednesday, acknowledged the victim was disciplined for the racial slur.

He testified that the assault on the girl can be seen on a school surveillance videotape. In it, the victim can be seen taking Dahn’s coat and hat, he said.

Kjonaas later testified that the girl, who still had Dahn’s hat, can be seen going into the ladies’ room on the tape as Dahn waits outside. He said under cross-examination that there were allegations the girl threw Dahn’s hat into the ladies’ room toilet. The attack on the girl started after the girl came out of the ladies’ room, Kjonaas said.

Kjonaas testified that on the tape, Dahn can be seen slapping the girl in the face, putting her on the floor and restraining her with her head between his legs, slapping her buttocks and asking her if she wants him to rape her and touch her breasts.

Twice, the girl tried to get away from Dahn and leave the foyer area of the school, only to have him pull her back by her clothes. The third time, Kjonaas said, Dahn pulled her back by the neck. A male witness tried to convince Dahn to stop but did not physically intervene, Kjonaas said.

Cass County prosecutor Ryan Younggren told the judge that the felonious restraint charge against Dahn comes with the element of terrorizing because he made threats with sexual comments during the assault.

Sheeley disagreed with the characterization. Sheeley said Dahn did not threaten to rape the victim, and pointed out that Kjonaas admitted under cross-examination he thought it unlikely Dahn was going to rape the victim with other people present.

“He said, ‘I should just go ahead and rape you because that’s what n-words do,’ ” Sheeley said.

In his summation, Sheeley told the court the assault was “a high school tussle … that did get out of hand, judge. But not to the felony level.”

Judge Wickham Corwin ruled that the case had enough probable cause to go forward to trial, in terms of its issues and any potential self-defense arguments. Dahn’s next court appearance is set for May 29.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541