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Accused Taco Bell worker still working at South University Drive location

FARGO – A Taco Bell assistant manager accused of groping female customers in the drive-thru is still working at the restaurant on South University Drive, his lawyer said in court Wednesday.

Austin James Brady, 20, made his first appearance in Cass County District Court Wednesday on charges of Class C felony unlawful entry into a vehicle and Class B misdemeanor sexual assault.

His defense attorney, Jade Rosenfeldt, asked Judge Wade Webb to reduce the bail set in the case to 10 percent of the $5,000 cash Cass County prosecutor Mark Boening requested.

Rosenfeldt said Brady is a longtime resident of the area, has lived in Fargo with his mother for the past seven years and is not a flight risk.

She also said Brady is still employed at the Taco Bell, at 2121 S. University Drive, where he was promoted to assistant manager three or four months ago. Rosenfeldt said Brady’s employer has been in contact with him and helped him seek legal counsel.

According to charges filed June 11, two women claimed to police that Brady, in separate incidents in March and April that both happened about 2 a.m., asked them to pull out of a drive-thru line and then grabbed their breasts while delivering their food. In the March incident, the women in the vehicle claimed he offered to give them more free food if the girls would party with him.

Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell, stated in an email that the Fargo franchisee conducted a “thorough investigation” and found no wrongdoing.

“The safety of customers and team members is the top priority of our franchisee, and they do not tolerate any form of harassment at their restaurant,” Poetsch wrote.

He wrote that the franchisee is continuing to cooperate with police.

Rosenfeldt said she was appearing on behalf of Bruce Quick, another attorney with Vogel Law Firm who has been hired to represent Brady.

Brady pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge. Pleas to felony charges are usually entered at a later arraignment, which in Brady’s case was set for July 24.

Webb set Brady’s bail at $750 cash, with a condition that he have no contact with either of the alleged victims in the case.

Officials at the Cass County Jail said Wednesday afternoon he hadn’t been booked in at the jail.

In one of the cases, Brady later told police the women were drunk and had propositioned him for free food.

According to court records, Brady provided a written statement to police denying he assaulted them, saying they had thrown a pen at him and he gave them a quesadilla to get them to leave.

Article written by Emily Welker of the Forum News Service

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