A Bismarck man convicted of sexual assault against a young girl was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.
Russell Walbert, 64, was convicted in November on four counts of sexual assault. The charges stemmed from alleged incidents two years ago in a shed at his residence and in a camper parked on his property.
South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen handed down 20-year sentences on each count, suspended 12 ½ years of each, and ordered that the prison time be served consecutively. Borgen noted Walbert's history of criminal activity and said Walbert had a pattern of blaming others when he got into trouble.
“The world isn’t all about you,” Borgen said.
Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer asked Borgen for consecutive 20-year sentences, saying Walbert shouldn’t get a break just because the acts were committed against one person.
“Each time he did this, he inflicted more harm on that victim,” she said.
Walbert told Borgen that if he were to be released and spend time on probation, he could help pay off family debts. He lived and worked in Bismarck for more than 20 years “without any trouble,” he said.
“I did everything I was supposed to be doing,” he said. “That’s about all I can say.”
Walbert's attorney, Kent Morrow, asked for three-year sentences to be served at the same time. Sexual offense charges that were filed against Walbert years ago were dropped, and the presentence investigation in the current case showed no diagnosis of sexual or personality disorders, Morrow said.
Borgen said the girl’s testimony at Walbert’s trial was “completely credible.” Lawyer’s sentencing request wasn’t wrong, the judge said, adding that he adjusted it down only because of Walbert’s age. He also allowed Walbert credit for 388 days served, or a little more than a year.
Walbert is scheduled for trial in September in Morton County on similar charges.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com
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