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Associated Press, Published October 31 2013

Charges allege Cavalier man tortured, raped woman he held in basement

BISMARCK — A woman in northern North Dakota says the man she was living with kept her locked in the basement of their Cavalier home for weeks, freeing her only to torture and rape her.

The woman says her tormentor bound her using duct tape, hose clamps, zip ties and ropes, and police found blood throughout the house along with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, Cavalier Police Chief Steve Yttredahl said in an affidavit.

“The relationship ... is riddled with physical, sexual and verbal assault,” Yttredahl said.

The man faces a mid-December jury trial in Pembina County on 26 counts of gross sexual imposition, along with charges of aggravated assault-domestic violence and drug possession.

The woman told KVLY-TV in Fargo that she was tied up like an animal last March and April and let out only at night, until she managed to escape and go to an area business to seek help. The criminal complaint against the man alleges sadistic brutality.

It says the man physically and sexually abused the woman more than 20 times, and videotaped the incidents. Police found numerous pairs of rubber gloves as well as fabric apparently used as blindfolds and gags.

“(He) would restrain (the woman) within the residence and leave her alone for hours, often with a radio blaring so that her screams could not be heard by any passers-by,” Yttredahl said. The woman suffered a permanent ear injury because of the abuse, he said.

The Associated Press does not typically release the names of people who might be victims of sexual abuse without their permission. The woman did not immediately respond to requests for comment made Thursday through Facebook. The AP also does not identify suspects if doing so could potentially identify a possible sex abuse victim.

The man's attorney, Henry Howe, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Pembina County State's Attorney Barbara Whelan also did not immediately return a call seeking more information on the case.

The man could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on the AA felony gross sexual imposition charges.