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Brainerd man charged with sexual assault and strangulation

Joseph Alan Clark

A 20-year-old Brainerd man was charged Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman and attempting to strangle her at their Brainerd home.

Joseph Alan Clark was charged in Crow Wing County District Court with third-degree felony criminal sexual conduct, felony domestic assault by strangulation and a misdemeanor domestic assault-with the intention to inflict bodily harm on another. Judge Erik Askegaard set bond with conditions at $125,000 and bond without conditions at $500,000. Clark’s omnibus hearing was set for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Clark:

• At 6:14 p.m. Sunday, officers were dispatched to a residence on the 100 block of D Street in Brainerd for a domestic assault in progress. The female complainant reported that she was assaulted throughout the day and she requested an ambulance. The phone then went dead.

• Upon arrival, officers made contact with Clark in the rear of the residence and he was holding an infant that the woman and himself are parents of. Contact was made with the woman in the bedroom. Officer noted that it was difficult to understand what the woman was saying because she was crying heavily. Another male individual was found sitting in the kitchen.

• The woman advised officers that Clark had held her down on the bed, slapped her in the face repeatedly and made her punch herself with her own hands. She also said Clark tied her wrists together with a jump rope and officers observed a wooden-handled jump rope near the bed. The woman went on to say that Clark had put a sock in her mouth, pinching her nose closed and applied pressure to her neck to prevent her from screaming. According to the woman, Clark did this several times over the past couple of hours and that she believed at times that she was going to vomit and pass out due to not being able to breathe.

• Officers observed a small laceration on the woman’s lower lip that was bleeding. Officers also noted that the woman had redness around her throat area and a small bruise forming on the lower right side of her neck.

• Clark advised officers that the woman was the aggressor.

• After Clark was arrested, the woman advised officers that Clark sexually assaulted her. She then asked to go to the emergency room before providing any further details.

• The male sitting in the kitchen, advised officers that he, Clark and the infant were in the Twin Cities the night before when Clark learned that the woman had gone to a party and cheated on him. The three of them then came home to Brainerd. The male said Clark asked him to take the infant upstairs with him. Clark then went into the bedroom with the woman. The male said he heard Clark and the woman verbally arguing on and off throughout the day. Prior to the officers arrival, the male said Clark exited the bedroom and told him that the woman tried to hit him and almost hit the infant while doing so. The male said he did not see anything physical take place between Clark and the woman.

• An officer later obtained a recorded statement from the woman. The woman explained that when Clark arrived home from the Twin Cities they talked about their relationship and verbally argued on and off throughout the day. The woman said that she was lying on the bed, when Clark yelled at her. He then sexually assaulted her. She said she tried to push Clark away but was unable to do so. The woman said Clark would ask her questions and then sexually assault her if she did not give the answer he wanted or if she didn’t answer quickly enough. He also threatened to use more force. The woman said she yelled repeatedly at Clark to stop and that she screamed for help. Clark then put a sock in her mouth, plugged her nose and applied pressure to her neck. The woman said Clark did this repeatedly as she attempted to scream for help. As the assault progressed, the woman said Clark climbed on top of her and held her hands against her neck area. The woman said Clark continually made her punch herself with her own hands and that he also slapped her across the face if she didn’t answer her questions. The woman said Clark used a jump rope to tie her hands together near her neck area. The woman said the assault stopped when the infant woke up needing a diaper change. When Clark left the bedroom with the infant, she used his cell phone to call 911. The woman said she hung up the phone when Clark reentered the bedroom so she wouldn’t get caught.

• Meanwhile as Clark was at the jail, officers observed that a small scratch on his left forearm area and several small scratches on the knuckles of his right hand. Officers also observed several very small marks on Clark’s legs near his calf that he said were from the incident. Officers also observed a small red mark on his lower back and another small red mark in the middle of his back on the right side. Clark then lifted his shirt all the way up and officers observed no other scratches or marks on him.

• During Clark’s statement, he said that they were arguing for several hours about their relationship and Clark said it was determined that they would no longer have a relationship and that he would move out. Clark said the woman became upset and hit him and scratched him several times. Clark said he pushed the woman and that she went flying because she is so small. Clark said they argued for some time but then made up and had sexual intercourse. Clark said he then told the woman again that they would no longer have a relationship and that he would move out. Clark said that she because upset again and attacked him several more times. Clark said he then grabbed hold of the woman and held her down for 25-30 minutes. Clark said the infant was in the bedroom the entire time and that at no time did the woman come close to hitting her. Clark said he held the woman’s arms by her wrists up by her face because she was biting at him. Clark said he forced the woman’s hands into her face area in an attempt to get her to bite herself. Clark denied punching the woman and said that she may have hit herself when he was holding her wrists.

• Clark was placed in a holding cell after he provided the statement. Some time later, as he was being escorted to the booking area, Clark showed officers large scratches on his right shoulder that he claimed happened during the incident. Officer noted that the scratches were not present when Clark was photographed earlier and that it appeared that Clark may have scratched himself while in the holding cell.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at