WEST FARGO — Prosecutors have charged a West Fargo man with allegedly engaging in sex acts with a woman who was blacked out.
Bruce Clayton McCartney, who's in his late 50s, was arraigned Thursday, Sept. 12, on two felony counts of gross sexual imposition in Cass County District Court. He posted $100,000 bail and is not in custody. A message left for his attorney, Richard Edinger, was not immediately returned Thursday.
Early Aug. 9, police were sent to an apartment building in West Fargo and found a woman who told officers that a man had tried to tie her up, court papers show.
A detective viewed security video from the building and saw the victim being pushed in a rolling chair by a man, later identified as McCartney, and a woman to McCartney’s nearby apartment at about 11:22 p.m. Aug. 8, court papers show. The woman helping push the chair left the apartment after entering for about a minute.
The victim is seen leaving the apartment at about 12:32 a.m. Aug. 9, according to court documents. The security video shows her falling down before getting into an elevator and going to the first floor, where police found her.
The victim told police she remembered being at the West Fargo VFW bar, 444 Sheyenne St., the night of Aug. 8, ordering a drink and sitting next to a man, identified as McCartney, at the bar, court papers show. She told police she remembered McCartney trying to kiss her and her trying to push him away, but said she didn’t remember much after her first drink.
The victim showed detectives pictures of possible bruises on her ankles, legs and calves, court papers stated. She also told detectives it surprised her when a sexual assault kit she completed showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.26%, adding that she does not drink that often anymore. She told police she believes she drank two shots of vodka shortly before entering the bar.
According to court papers, two servers and a bartender told police the victim was served at least three drinks.
According to the VFW, a review of security video shows the woman was served three drinks and it wasn't clear whether she finished all of them.
The security footage shows the victim sitting with McCartney at the bar, and at about 11:12 p.m. on Aug. 9, the victim tried to walk out of the bar but fell down, according to court papers. The video showed McCartney and two waitresses help the victim onto a rolling chair, and one of the waitresses helped McCartney roll the victim to his apartment, court papers stated.
The waitress who helped McCartney take the victim to his apartment said they knew they had to take the victim out of the bar because she was too impaired, and that McCartney suggested taking her to his apartment to let her sleep it off, according to court papers.
The waitress told police she didn’t think much of taking the victim to McCartney’s apartment because they appeared to be friendly at the bar, court papers show. In response to questions from police, she said the victim was not in a condition to consent to anything sexual that could have happened in McCartney’s apartment, court papers show.
The waitress said the victim would not have been able to take her own pants off and that they were unable to wake her up, court papers show.
When questioned by detectives, McCartney said there was sexual contact between him and the victim but that he did not try to have sex with her and talked about his erection issues, court papers stated.
McCartney said he did not take the victim’s pants off, and that the victim was blacked out drunk but not when they had sexual contact, court papers stated.
When detectives asked McCartney whether the victim was in the right mind to be able to know what she was doing, he said she wasn’t and that he should have known better, court papers show.
Eric Jorgenson, general manager of the West Fargo VFW, said in a statement, "While we are saddened by the news of the alleged sexual assault that took place in the residence inside Sheyenne Plaza, unfortunately due to outside circumstances beyond the VFW and poor individual decision making by former staff, we have been more involved in this story than we would like to be.
"Staff members did genuinely believe they were safely assisting a patron home with a friend. Staff was also unaware of the drinking that occurred immediately before the individuals involved entered the VFW," Jorgenson stated. "We would like to reaffirm that in no way does the West Fargo VFW encourage, condone, or tolerate overserving of any kind. The West Fargo VFW will continue to provide a safe and friendly atmosphere for all to congregate and, as always, continue our dedicated involvement to the community of West Fargo."