A group of citizens whose friend was beaten and sexually assaulted by a stranger near her Moorhead home say they may begin a letter-writing campaign to the Clay County judge who let the accused man out on bail.
Richard Lee Haaland Junior posted one hundred thousand dollars' bail with the help of a bail bonds company Wednesday night, according to jail officials.
That was in response to criminal charges he sexually assaulted a Moorhead woman in a parking ramp near her apartment in early September.
Prosecutors say they asked for a million dollars' bail on Haaland, in part because he has a lot of cash and he's got a criminal history of attacking strange women. They say the community's at risk, and Haaland is also a flight risk. Friends of the victim say police discovered forty thousand dollars' cash and a passport at Haaland's Fargo home when they searched it prior to his arrest. Prosecutors asked that the passport be turned over to the court as part of conditions of his release.
We called to ask Clay County Judge Lisa Borgen why she set his bail at a tenth of what prosecutors asked for, but she didn't respond.
A court official says the rules of judicial conduct prohibit her from talking about the case, since it could be seen as prejudicing its outcome.
Also -- Haaland is constitutionally guaranteed by the state of Minnesota the right to have bail set.
Rape experts say stranger rapes are rarer than rapes by people you know. But that doesn't mean this case is the only sexual assault case in the metro for folks to be worried about in terms of their own safety.
"We want to feel safe, so we have this myth that when it's an acquaintance rape that we wouldn't be socializing with those people, or we wouldn't have had that much to drinks," says Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead Victim Advocate Glen Hase. "Then there's a stranger rape and it hits people, this is something that could happen to me. It's something you need to be aware of, predators are out there. Whether you meet them at the bar, or in the dorm, or at the mall, predators are everywhere."
Court officials also say that bail is primarily meant to keep people from skipping court dates, not to keep them in jail without first being convicted.
An online fundraiser is set to raise money for the victim, who suffered broken bones in her face in the attack.