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Published August 30, 2011, 08:26 PM

Police: Moorhead Man, 52, Raped Girl, 16, After Blackmailing Her With Sex Video

MOORHEAD – A 52-year-old Moorhead man allegedly blackmailed a 16-year-old girl, threatening to expose her nude pictures and a sex video if she didn’t clean his house in skimpy costumes, court records show.

By: Dave Roepke, Forum Communications

MOORHEAD – A 52-year-old Moorhead man allegedly blackmailed a 16-year-old girl, threatening to expose her nude pictures and a sex video if she didn’t clean his house in skimpy costumes, court records show.

According to a complaint filed Monday in Clay County District Court, William John Earles is also accused of raping the girl in July.

She told officers Earles had threatened to divulge the video and photos if she didn’t clean his home while wearing a variety of outfits including a French maid costume and a customized purple football jersey.

In court records, police say Earles told officers the sexual contact was consensual. He said he considered the teenager a prostitute, because he paid her $30 to “clean the house” once a week for about a year. She would let him massage her, and he claimed he had secretly recorded videos that would back his claims.

The age of sexual consent in Minnesota is 16.

Earles faces five charges: criminal sexual conduct in the third and fourth degrees, soliciting an underage prostitute, coercion and possessing a firearm as a felon. He has a prior conviction for sex abuse in Clay County, for which he was sentenced in 1998 to a seven-year stint in prison.

Of the charges, soliciting a juvenile prostitute would carry the longest maximum prison term if he is convicted: 20 years.

The allegations came to light after the alleged victim – the girlfriend of an acquaintance of Earles – was transported to Sanford Health in Fargo after making suicidal comments.

The boyfriend’s relationship with Earles isn’t being disclosed to avoid identifying the alleged victim, because The Forum typically does not identify the accusers in cases of sexual assault.

Earles was transported to the Clay County Jail on Tuesday being detained by Fargo police Sunday as he was golfing at Rose Creek.

Roepke is a reporter at the Forum in Fargo

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