March 6 – Grand Forks – A Grand Forks man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for assault, terrorizing and aggravated sexual assault.
A sentencing hearing for Craig Eugene Peltier, 54, was scheduled for Monday, March 6.
Law enforcement was dispatched to an alleged sexual assault on August 19, 2021, according to an affidavit in the case. The affidavit states that the woman told police that the incident happened in the men’s bathroom attached to her apartment building, and that the man told her that if she told anyone about the incident “he knew he would Where does she live and will find her and kill her.” ,
The affidavit said video footage showed a man – later identified as Peltier – walking with the woman. The woman said Peltier asked where the bathroom was, so she took him there.
The affidavit states that the woman told police that Peltier “grabbed her and dragged her into the bathroom by his arm,” then struck and strangled her.
In the video, both were seen entering the bathroom at 4:17 am and exiting at 5:43 am
Ashley Neufeld, who represented the state during the sentencing hearing, said, “It was a brutal attack that was an hour and 26 minutes long.”
The woman has been admitted to the hospital due to injuries.
“The damage to the victim is terrible,” Neufeld said.
The woman’s carer gave a Victim Impact Statement during Peltier’s sentencing. She testified to the lasting effects of the woman’s injuries, and stated that the woman had not fully regained her strength—physically or mentally, adding that the woman is in therapy.
Initially, Peltier was charged with a Class AA felony gross sexual assault by forcing “the victim … by force or by threat of imminent death,” according to court documents.
However, in September, the charge was amended to a Class A felony gross sexual charge of “causing the victim to have a mental illness or defect” and “serious bodily injury”.
With the amendment, Peltier used the Alford plea to plead guilty. He pleaded guilty to Class C felony aggravated assault and Class C felony terrorizing.
Peltier’s public defender, Steven Mottinger, asked the court to sentence Peltier to 20 years, with the first seven years being served in prison.
According to court statements, Peltier was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. He also has various alcohol-related convictions.
“Mr. Peltier clearly has a longstanding problem with alcohol,” Mottinger said.
Mottinger said that Peltier “has a very close relationship with his family” and is “a loving father.”
“He just wants to take it behind him and move on,” Mottinger said.
Peltier also spoke out, and recalled physically assaulting the woman.
Peltier said, “I’m not denying that I assaulted her.” “… I’m not trying to get away with anything.”
Peltier said he did not remember sexually assaulting the woman, and said the potentially positive semen sample could not be linked specifically to him. However, Neufeld said that other DNA on the woman’s body confirmed it as Peltier’s.
Peltier’s daughter, Tiffany Davis, provided a statement. They talked about the role Peltier plays in their and their family’s lives and how important he is to them. Davis said that her father is not a “monster” or a “horrible person”.
“He’s not a rapist,” Davis said. “… please, please have mercy on his soul.”
Neufeld requested 20 years, having previously served 18 years in prison.
According to the author of the pre-sentence investigation, Neufeld said that Peltier had “pages upon pages of a criminal history” and had never successfully completed probation.
“Every time he’s been on probation, more crimes have been committed,” Neufeld said.
Neufeld said the state agreed to a modified reduced charge so the woman involved would not have to go through a trial, but if Peltier had gone to trial and been convicted she would have requested a life sentence.
Judge Don Hager sentenced Peltier to 18 years in prison, saying that Peltier was getting “basically at least” the same sentence as if he had gone to trial and pleaded guilty to the Class AA charge.
Peltier will be required to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment while in prison.
Peltier has credit for 565 days of service. Upon his release, he will be on supervised probation for five years.