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Moe Gibbs ordered to serve 15 more years for jail assaults, rape

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FARGO - Former jailer Moe Gibbs, already sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, has been handed an additional 15 years for assaulting female inmates and for a 2004 Fargo rape.

The Fargo rape victim, who testified in court Thursday, looked at Gibbs and said, "I do hope you think about what you've done every day you sit in that cell. I want you to hear my voice screaming for help over and over again."

Gibbs, 35, was linked to the unsolved rape case last year through DNA analysis during the investigation into the killing of Valley City State University student Mindy Morgenstern.

The sentences for rape and the jail assaults are to be served at the same time, but they will be consecutive to Gibbs' life sentence for killing Morgenstern.

"Mr. Gibbs, these are crimes of violence against women," Judge Wade Webb said Thursday before handing down the sentences.

The former Barnes County jailer pleaded guilty to the rape charge in November, and he pleaded guilty last Friday to six felony counts involving five female inmates at the jail in Valley City last year. One of the assaults happened the same day Mindy Morgenstern was killed in her Valley City apartment, prosecutors said.

Webb sentenced Gibbs to 25 years with 10 suspended for the jail assaults and 20 years with eight suspended for the Fargo rape. He twice asked Gibbs if he wanted to say anything, but Gibbs declined.

The Fargo woman who was raped in 2004 said she tried to fight back during the assault, but Gibbs was twice her size.

"Who was this monster and why me?" she said. "The pain was unbearable."

The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Gibbs glanced down through most of the woman's statement. Afterward, a man who was sitting with the victim's family applauded before he was cut off by Webb.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Byers and Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Gary Delorme said the consecutive sentences were needed in case of a successful appeal or pardon in the murder case.

"I would argue that it's anything but moot," Delorme said.

Defense attorney Ross Brandborg argued for the rape and jail assault sentences to run at the same time as the murder sentence. He said Gibbs took responsibility by pleading guilty and said it would be unfair to impose a sentence based on what might happen in the murder case.

"The state is looking to punish Moe Gibbs for exercising his constitutional rights," Brandborg said.

Byers said Gibbs did not agree to plead guilty to the sexual assault cases until after a Bismarck jury found him guilty of murder. That was the second trial in that case. The first one ended with the jury deadlocked 6-6.

Webb said Gibbs abused public trust and assaulted women who were in vulnerable positions.

"You have ruined and affected several lives," the judge told Gibbs. "You have earned the consecutive sentences."

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