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Granite Falls man faces four felonies for alleged sexual assault

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MONTEVIDEO – A Granite Falls man has been accused of raping a teenage girl in early 2017.

Gabriel Joseph Ross, 30, is charged with four felonies of first-degree, second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He made his initial court appearance last week in Chippewa County District Court. His next court date is July 17.

The young woman reported the alleged assault to Granite Falls police in April this year, and Ross was charged in May.

According to court records, the alleged assault happened after she had gone to a cousin’s birthday party in Montevideo along with a group of other relatives. Since she was underage and could not drink, she had gone along as the designated driver, she said.

The group left a Montevideo bar and drove back to Granite Falls in two vehicles. At a relative’s home in Granite Falls, Ross allegedly asked the girl to give him a ride to a convenience store. After his purchase, he asked her to drive up to the city cemetery to show her a crying soldier statue there.

The girl told police she didn’t think there would be anything wrong with going for a drive with a relative, so they went to the cemetery, which is located in Chippewa County. The roads in the cemetery hadn’t been plowed, and they got stuck.

According to court documents, the girl asked Ross to call for help, as her cell phone was dead, but he refused. He then allegedly began trying to seduce her by commenting on her looks and her clothing.

When the girl resisted his advances for about an hour, he became more forceful, according to court records. He grabbed her, spun her around and pulled her pants down, she told police. She cried as she described how he grabbed her by the hips and raped her. He changed positions and continued to assault her with her sitting on his lap.

Afterward, he told her to get dressed and agreed to call for help. They were in the cemetery until sunrise.

According to court documents, the girl said she asked Ross to stop several times. He did not threaten her, she said, but she was frightened by his size and the ease with which he could move her around inside the car. She said she was afraid that if she tried to fight him off, he would hurt her.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340