Accused in rape at US airport charged

Source: Agencies  |   2011-4-21  |     NEWSPAPER EDITION

The story appears on Page A10
Apr 21, 2011

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A MAN suspected of raping a 22-year-old woman at Denver International Airport in the United States was charged on Tuesday with one count of sexual assault.

Noel Bertrand, 26, of Portland, Oregon, allegedly assaulted the woman just after midnight on April 12 on the floor of a concourse. Two airport employees on the tarmac saw the incident through a window and intervened, authorities said.

Her family members said they were shocked to hear that Bertrand was only charged with one count. The Associated Press does not use the names of people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified.

Bertrand was being held on US$50,000 bond and was due in court today, when a public defender could be named to represent him. He could face a sentence of up to 12 years in prison if convicted, but he would have to qualify for parole to be freed and could end up imprisoned for life even after completing his term.

The victim's family members said the woman had missed a flight and decided to spend the night at the airport. A man struck up a conversation at a restaurant, then followed the woman to a spot where he sat next to her and tried to kiss her.

Court documents say Bertrand hit the woman in the eye and choked her by her shirt collar as he threw her to the floor and assaulted her.

The woman spoke to KMGH-TV after the incident. She said three airport employees passed by while she was being assaulted and walked away without helping.

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