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Predatory offender sentenced in Clay court to 25½ years for raping pregnant dancer

MOORHEAD – A Moorhead man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an exotic dancer who was seven months pregnant was sentenced Friday in Clay County District court to 25½ years in prison.

Jesse Lee Paskey, 29, was accused of tying up the woman, raping her repeat-edly and holding a knife to her throat on Dec. 23 in his home after she went there to perform a dance. He was arrested after she escaped and ran to a neighbor’s.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Paskey pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to one count of first-degree criminal sexual contact. A second count was dis-missed, as were charges of kidnapping and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Paskey will have to serve two thirds of his sentence, or 17 years, before he’s eligible for supervised release, Assistant County Attorney Pamela Harris said. He received credit for 104 days in jail.

Paskey faced a maximum of 30 years under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines. The state agreed to 25½ years to spare the victim, who had her baby a week before the trial was set to begin, from the emotional stress of a trial, Harris said, adding the victim agreed with the plea deal.

Jesse Lee Paskey

Harris said Paskey attempted from jail to have people threaten the victim or promise her money, but the letters were turned over to the state before the victim could receive them. She also noted that Paskey allegedly said to police upon his arrest, “I have no remorse.” Paskey did not make a statement during Friday’s hearing, which his victim attended.

“He’s never shown any sort of remorse to anybody about it,” Harris said.

Judge Michelle Lawson made a preliminary finding that a petition for civil commitment is appropriate upon Paskey’s release from prison. Based on Paskey’s criminal history, Harris said she hopes Paskey will be committed for life.

“He just has too much of a past and a violent past that I couldn’t foresee him getting out of a civil commitment,” she said.

In February 2012, Paskey pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of criminal sexual conduct for a September 2011 incident in Moorhead in which he was accused of strangling a woman with his arm while sexually assaulting her after she came home with him after meeting him in a bar. He was sentenced to two years of probation in a plea deal with prosecutors, who said at the time they didn’t want to risk an acquittal based on first-day testimony from the victim.

At the time of the 2011 incident, Paskey was already required to register as a predatory offender in Minnesota after he pleaded guilty in 2010 to a felony charge of false imprisonment of a woman.

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