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Moorhead rape trial delayed because defendant's bipolar meds went unfilled

MOORHEAD - A trial scheduled to begin today for a Moorhead man accused of a raping a 22-year-old woman was delayed by a week because he ran out of medication in the Clay County Jail last Friday.

Jesse Lee Paskey, 28, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly raping a woman Sept. 4 in his home at 1409 Ninth Ave. S.

Jury selection was slated to begin this morning in Clay County District Court, but Paskey's attorney, Mara Rausch, asked for a continuance because she just learned he hadn't taken his meds since Friday.

Paskey, who has been in jail since his arrest in September, told Judge Galen Vaa he has suffered from bipolar disorder and depression since his early teens and has been taking the drug Depakote for five months.

Paskey told the judge he wasn't feeling any differently than he did Friday.

"I feel we can continue (with the trial)," Paskey said.

Assistant County Attorney Pamela Harris said the state was concerned that Paskey is familiar with the court system - he's required to register as a predatory offender as a result of a false imprisonment conviction in 2010 - and might use his medical condition as an issue for appeal. Paskey faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, Harris noted.

Rausch said a refill wasn't available through the jail, and it wasn't by choice that Paskey wasn't taking his meds.

Vaa said moving forward could create risk if Paskey starts to feel differently before he's back on his meds and stabilized. Vaa set the trial to begin next Tuesday and delayed jury selection until then, saying it wouldn't be appropriate to pick a jury today and make them wait a week for the trial to begin.

Rausch said Paskey was "pretty upset" about the trial being delayed.