Man facing felony charges

FAIRMONT — A Northrop man is facing felony charges in Martin County.

58-year-old Earl Dean Ricard has been charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. He also has been charged with false imprisonment and intentional restraint, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to the complaint:

At 9:34 p.m. Nov. 25, 2016, a Martin County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a call of a sexual assault. The deputy spoke over the phone to a female, who said the assault had taken place Nov. 13 on County Road 44 in Martin County.

Later that day, the woman told the deputy she had contacted her boss, Ricard, to arrange to pick up her paycheck on Nov. 13. She said they agreed to meet at the shop for Ricard’s manure-hauling business on County Road 44.

The woman said she arrived at 5:15 p.m. and observed Ricard there with a beer in hand. She said she was talking with Ricard while she was getting her check and Ricard brought up the past and how they should have “hooked up.” She said Ricard indicated he wanted to have sex, but she told him she was dating someone else and she did not want to. She then said she told him she was leaving.

She indicated Ricard then walked over to her and put his arm around her, and put his hand under her shirt. She stated she was eventually able to get out of his hug and pull away, walking to the door. She said Ricard proceeded to stand in front of the door and put his hand on it, blocking her from leaving the building.

The woman indicated Ricard kept his hand on the door for about five minutes, and that she was mad and scared and began to scream that she was leaving. Ricard continued to tell her that nobody would find out. The woman said Ricard finally let her leave the building and she went to her vehicle.

She said Ricard followed her out of the building, and as she sat in her vehicle with the driver’s door window down, Ricard reached into the vehicle with his left hand. She indicated that she pushed his hand away from her chest and pinned his arm to the steering wheel. She said she was yelling at Ricard to stop.

She then said Ricard forced his arm down and put his hand down her pants, sexually assaulting her. After he stopped, she started her vehicle and left.

She then stated that Ricard continued to text her, asking her to come back and stating that nobody would find out.

At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3, the deputy met with Ricard at the Martin County Law Enforcement Center. He was read his rights and indicated that he understood. Ricard asked if he should get a lawyer, and the deputy told him he was not able to answer that and he could exercise his rights at any time and not talk to the deputy. Ricard then said he would talk with the deputy.

During the interview, Ricard said that on Nov. 13 he was alone at the shop drinking beer. He said he had consumed about seven or eight beers, and indicated the woman arrived alone and she had not been drinking.

Ricard said he went to get her paycheck and they talked for a long time, then said he felt stupid for what happened and he went too far.

He indicated they were standing in the shop and they started talking about sex. He said he did not remember hugging her or feeling her chest. Ricard also said he did not remember standing in front of the door, but he might have. He indicated the woman left angry and he knew he did something wrong in the shop, but did not remember what he had done. He said he tried getting the woman to stay and have sex with him. Ricard said that she told him she could not because she had a boyfriend.

He stated that he followed her out to her car to get her to come back inside with him and she told him no. He then stated he reached into the car with his arm and she pushed his hand away. Ricard then said she pinned his arm to the steering wheel and he forced his hand down her pants. He stated that she was trying to pull his hand away and was stating, “No, no, no.”

Ricard admitted the woman told him from the start that she would not have sex with him, and that at no point were things consensual.