Man enters Alford plea
A mentally disabled Moorhead man accused of raping his caregiver accepted a plea agreement Friday but did not admit guilt. Ryan Allen Black, 27, 1302 19 1/2 St. S., entered an Alford plea in Clay County District Court, meaning he does not admit g...
A mentally disabled Moorhead man accused of raping his caregiver accepted a plea agreement Friday but did not admit guilt.
Ryan Allen Black, 27, 1302 19½ St. S., entered an Alford plea in Clay County District Court, meaning he does not admit guilt but acknowledges a jury might convict him.
Judge Michael Kirk said he would not accept the plea until reviewing a pre-sentencing investigation and a psychiatric evaluation.
However, Black is scheduled for a Sept. 13 sentencing hearing.
Prosecutors initially charged Black with first-degree criminal sexual conduct on accusations he raped a woman in January while she cared for him in his home.
Court records say Black, who requires 24-hour care, suffered a brain injury a few years ago.
Clay County Attorney Lisa Borgen said she would accept Black's Alford plea and lower the charge to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The guideline sentence for that charge is four years in prison, but Borgen said Black's medical history and mental health would warrant a lesser sentence.
The state is seeking civil commitment for Black for his mental illness, Borgen said.
Black intended to plead guilty Friday, but as he was questioned he denied some allegations. He admitted having sex with the woman but said it was not coerced.
"I didn't rape her," Black said. "I will not admit to something I didn't do."
Court records say:
Black and the woman watched a video on Jan. 2, the night of the assault. While lying on a couch, he started rubbing her back and neck.
She told Black to stop and tried to convince him his actions were wrong, but he became more aggressive. He then raped her twice before she was able to convince him to go to sleep.
The woman then escaped and drove herself to MeritCare Hospital, where police interviewed her. Typically Borgen does not accept Alford pleas, particularly in criminal sexual conduct cases, she said.
"It's hard for people to get treatment if they can't admit what they did," she told the court.
But in this case, Borgen said, justice will be served if Black is committed and receives treatment.
The victim was not at the hearing, but Borgen said she is confident the woman will be satisfied if Black gets some help and is held accountable for the crime.
Black also faces a fifth-degree assault charge for punching a 20-year-old male in the face and stomach, court records say.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590