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Fargoan serving nine-year sentence for sex assault to appear before North Dakota Parole Board

Joseph Gerard Gilbraith

FARGO - A Fargo man serving a nine-year sentence for molesting a 14-year-old girl in 2002 will make his first appearance before the North Dakota Parole Board today.

Joseph Gerard Gilbraith, 46, pleaded guilty in June 2003 to Class A felony gross sexual imposition for the Dec. 29, 2002, incident involving a girl with mental disabilities.

Forum archives and court records provide the following details of the case:

The incident set the girl back years in her development, her father told the judge during Gilbraith's Sept. 15, 2003, sentencing. She had worked her way up to the functioning level of a 10-year-old prior to the abuse, the father told the judge.

"In a matter of 20 minutes, or a half an hour, or however long this incident took, it set my daughter back to be at the functional level of a 2- to 3-year-old," the father said.

Gilbraith remembers little about the incident and was drunk and passed out in a bedroom when the girl approached him, his defense attorney, Steve Mottinger, said at sentencing.

Gilbraith is scheduled to be released from prison March 20, 2011. He will appear before the parole board this morning via interactive television from the James River Correctional Center in Jamestown, N.D., said Pat Bohn, deputy clerk for the board.

The appearance date was set when Gilbraith was first incarcerated in 2003, Bohn said.

Gilbraith's risk level is undetermined, according to the North Dakota Sex Offender Web site.

Gilbraith's history of alcohol abuse and mental problems make him moderately to highly likely to re-offend, Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick said during the 2003 sentencing hearing.