Man Accused of Sexual Assault Pleads Not Guilty
by Vanessa Peng, KVRR Reporter
July 12, 2012
A Fargo man accused of sexually assaulting a woman who passed out at a party pleads not guilty.
21–year–old John Bussert faces a gross sexual imposition charge, a Class A felony.
Police reports say Bussert said, "I don't know," when asked if he thought his alleged victim knew he was having intercourse with her.
In court today, Bussert pled not guilty and waived his right to a contested hearing on probable cause.
Officers were called to a disturbance at two o'clock last Sunday morning at 924 5th Avenue South in Fargo.
According to police reports, Bussert and a friend planned to have the woman over, get her intoxicated with alcohol and have sex with her.
"We had the preliminary hearing and the defendant pled not guilty. The next step would be a dispositional conference. We set that down the road aways. At the point usually the defendant will either have to make a decision of whether he wants to have a trial or plead guilty, or sometimes if they need some more time for some reason that could be another option, " said Reid Brady, Assistant Cass County Attorney.
Bussert told police the woman did not wake up while he was having intercourse with her.
Bussert faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
"He has no prior convictions. If there is a conviction in the future, obviously that will be a factor to his advantage. In other words, a person with more prior convictions, obviously will be dealt with more severely, " Brady said.
Bussert's attorney asked the judge to lower the 50–thousand dollar bond, but the judge refused.
Bussert's attorney declined to comment.