FARGO – A Fargo man charged late last year with sexually assaulting a Mapleton store clerk appeared Wednesday, April 13, in Cass County District Court, but his case appears to be stalled for now as attorneys wait for a mental health exam.

Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ali, 36, faces charges of gross sexual imposition, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and terrorizing stemming from an incident in December at Gordy's Travel Plaza in Mapleton. The most serious charge, Class AA felony gross sexual imposition, could carry a lifetime prison term if Ali were convicted.

According to court records:

Authorities were called to Gordy's on a report of an unwanted person. When sheriff's deputies arrived, they heard a disturbance coming from a locked room in the travel plaza.

They kicked down the door and found Ali inside with a female store clerk who appeared to have a number of injuries, including a golf ball-sized lump on her head.

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The incident began when Ali entered the store and began telling the clerk she was his wife, though she had never seen him before, court documents say.

According to the documents, Ali dragged the clerk into the women's bathroom where he hit, kicked and sexually assaulted her while he told her she was his wife.

Wednesday's hearing was scheduled as a dispositional hearing, a time when the court is usually brought up to date on whether a case is expected to settle or is headed for trial.

Ali's attorney, Ross Brandborg, told the court he was still "waiting on the same issue," and the court allowed the matter to be continued.

Brandborg did not specify what he was waiting for, but Judge Tom Olson in January ordered a mental health evaluation for Ali, who communicated in court Wednesday through an interpreter.

At one point Wednesday, Ali said he was having problems at the Cass County Jail and that he was taking medication but was not sleeping.

Mental evaluations are used in criminal cases to assess whether a defendant is unable to assist in his own defense or was mentally ill or deficient at the time of the alleged crime. Either situation can prevent a defendant from standing trial.

Ali's family has said he suffers from biploar disorder and that minor criminal charges against him in Ohio and Minnesota were dismissed on mental illness grounds.