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Police: North Dakota man charged with rape, other offenses in Rupert
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Police: North Dakota man charged with rape, other offenses in Rupert

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RUPERT — A North Dakota man raped and attempted to strangle a Rupert woman, police say.

Clifford Dean Saunders, 46, of Stark County, North Dakota, was booked into the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center on Wednesday after he was arrested in North Dakota on a Minidoka County warrant.

He is charged with two counts of rape, attempted strangulation, forcible penetration with a foreign object, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and battery through domestic violence. All of the charges are felonies.

Police responded to a Rupert home on Dec. 27 after a teenager called 911 and said Saunders had grabbed a woman, dragged her into a bedroom and was trying to muffle her cries for help, according to court documents.

When police arrived, they were met by a man, who they sent out of the room. The woman, who was visibly upset and fearful, looked at officers and said “please help me.”

There were six children in the home at the time, police said.

The woman, who said she was afraid of Saunders, did not immediately tell police the entire story, court records say.

She later told police that Saunders, who was visiting the area, had abused her several times over two months.

During a later police interview, the woman received a message from Saunders. With the woman’s permission, police responded to him posing as the woman and asked him why he’d held a knife to her throat.

The officer said Saunders answered that he’d done it to “control her.” The officer also wrote a message asking why Saunders ran a knife across her eyelid and he messaged back that he’d done it “to scare her into having sex with him.” When asked why he had sex with her when he knew she didn’t want it, he wrote that it was to give her “peace.”

No hearing dates in the case have been set.

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