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Emily Welker, Published April 03 2014

Fargo man accused of sex assault after 15-year-old's mom finds naked photos on cellphone

FARGO – A Fargo man faces luring and sexual assault charges after the mother of a 15-year-old girl allegedly found nude photos of him and the girl on her daughter’s Hangout cellphone app.

Benjamin Carter Sharff, 36, was charged Wednesday in Cass County District Court with two counts of luring a minor by computer and one count of sexual assault, all Class C felonies.

According to court documents filed with the charges, a Fargo woman contacted police Feb. 20 to report that she had been looking through her 15-year-old daughter’s cellphone and discovered the nude photos.

The woman told police she went through her daughter’s cellphone because there were problems in the past with the girl sending inappropriate text messages.

Fargo police Officer Samuel Bollman interviewed the girl Feb. 24. She told him she met the man in the photos at a friend’s birthday party in May or June.

They next met at a club meeting at a Fargo city park, she told the officer.

The third time they met, she went home with him to his apartment, where they had sex.

Police reportedly examined the girl’s phone and found text messages discussing sex acts between the two, as well as the photos the girl’s mother described.

The police report says attempts to contact Sharff were unsuccessful.

It says Sharff’s attorney, Bruce Quick of Vogel Law Firm, contacted police on March 7.

Quick’s said he would discuss the case but would not allow them to interview Sharff, according to the police report.


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