West Fargo man pleads guilty to sex with 14-year-old in Grand Forks
GRAND FORKS – A former Grand Forks man pleaded guilty Thursday in court to having sex with a 14-year-old girl as part of a deal with prosecutors.
Charles “Drew” Tuck initially faced two counts of gross sexual imposition with someone younger than 16, each count carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Tuck was 21 in September 2011 when, on two nights, he had sex with the girl in his home in the city’s north side, said Jason McCarthy, assistant state’s attorney for Grand Forks County.
Both worked at Taco John’s, and the girl said it was “consensual sexual intercourse,” the prosecutor said.
DNA tests matched Tuck to dried secretions found on the girl’s neck after she went to police, McCarthy said, and investigators had text messages Tuck sent to the girl referring crudely to sex with her.
The girl and Taco John’s managers said all employees were clearly listed as younger than 16 or older, so Tuck knew she was younger. That is a key age difference in state law, increasing the potential penalty for Tuck.
Under a plea deal worked out between Tuck’s attorney, Ted Sandberg, and McCarthy, Tuck pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition and admitted the facts of the case. In exchange, McCarthy dismissed the second count and recommended a one-year sentence in county jail, possibly under terms of work release and/or electronic home monitoring if corrections officials approve it.
Tuck also would have to serve five years of supervised probation after his incarceration and register as a sex offender, possibly for life.
State District Judge Debbie Kleven told Tuck it’s not a done deal until she accepts it. If she rejects it, he can withdraw his guilty plea, she said.
Kleven ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Tuck’s sentencing for June 26.
Sandberg said Tuck now lives in West Fargo where he works as a chef and attends school.
The victim moved with her family to Colorado, a court official said.
- Stephen Lee, Forum News Service