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Minn. man gets 30-year sentence for raping pregnant exotic dancer

Jesse Paskey

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A Moorhead man received a 30-year sentence on Tuesday, Aug. 22, for kidnapping and raping a pregnant woman hired as an exotic dancer.

With good behavior and credit for time he has already spent behind bars in connection with the case, Jesse Paskey, 34, could be released after serving about 15 years.

Earlier this summer, Paskey was found guilty at trial in Clay County District Court on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of kidnapping and one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Prosecutors said a pregnant woman who went to Paskey's apartment in December 2012 to perform a dance was instead tied up and raped repeatedly by Paskey while he held a knife to her throat.

At Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Paskey apologized to the woman he assaulted and told Judge Michelle Lawson: "It wasn't right, I shouldn't have done it."

The woman read a letter in court and after the hearing talked about the effects the crimes have had on her life.

She said that because the attack happened during the holidays, every Christmas since has been tainted. She added, however, that the experience has resulted in a number of positive things for her, including greater knowledge of her own resiliency.

With the help of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, she said: "I now know that I'm stronger than I ever would have guessed. The whole ordeal has made me realize that I can overcome anything."

Paskey was charged in December 2012, and at one point in the case, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25½ years.

The sentence and guilty plea were overturned on appeal after Paskey claimed prosecutors coerced the plea by threatening to file witness tampering charges against his mother based on phone calls and letters intercepted by the jail.

Paskey took the case to trial, and in June a jury found him guilty.

As part of his latest sentence, he was given credit for having served about 4½ years.

The woman he attacked said after Tuesday's hearing that the amount of time Judge Lawson handed Paskey, which was at the high end of state sentencing guidelines, was appropriate.

"It was the perfect sentence," she said.

Lawson told Paskey the sentence he received reflected her concern over his past criminal record and what appeared to be "escalating conduct."

Dave Olson
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