Man accused of sexual abuse going to trial

Francis Alex Bruce Jr., 45, of Minot, appeared for a hearing Oct. 2 to set a trial date for the end of the year or perhaps early next year for a Class AA felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

In an affidavit attached to the complaint, Sgt. David Goodman of the Minot Police Department deposed that a classmate of the child had told a guidance counselor at their school that the victim was being abused.

The Children’s Advocacy Center scheduled an interview with the victim but the victim did not make allegations. Upon a second interview the child was willing to talk.

This was the second scheduled pretrial conference for Bruce, who was charged with the crime in May, because his attorney, William Robert Hartl, of Rugby, had just been assigned the case and needed more time to prepare at the time of the first conference in August.

While a trial has been scheduled, Bruce will still have 30 days from that conference to change his plea and cancel the trial. At the time of the conference Hartl indicated that prosecutor Christene Reierson had not offered a plea deal of any type. The extra time to change a plea should an acceptable deal be put forward was granted.