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Apartment owner denies fault in Grand Forks rape case

Antonio Raheem Matthews is serving a life sentence for raping two University of North Dakota students in 2013. Forum News Service file image

GRAND FORKS — The owners of an apartment complex where two UND students were raped at gunpoint in 2013 are not responsible for what happened to the victims, their attorney said in court documents.

CGV, a Grand Forks company that owns the multi-family complex at 3499 13th Ave. N., has been sued by Nadia Campbell and Breanne Squire, who both lived in a ground-level apartment unit when they were sexually assaulted by Antonio Raheem Matthews, 24, in September 2013. Matthews is serving a life sentence, but Squire and Campbell filed a lawsuit against CGV in December, claiming the landlord did not provide adequate security.

The victims said they locked the door, but Matthews opened the sliding glass patio door from the outside, according to court documents.

The women signed a lease saying the apartment "was fit for use as a residential premises," but the company did not provide a brace bar for the patio door to backup the lock, attorneys for Campbell and Squire said in court filings. The lawsuit alleges negligence, breach of express warranties and breach of implied warranties against CGV.

Kraig Wilson, a Grand Forks attorney representing CGV, said the landlord is not at fault, but instead claimed "damages, if any, are a direct result of (the) plaintiff's' own reckless, careless, negligent, willful or intentional acts," according to the defendant's answer to the lawsuit filed last week. The company denied it knew the apartment lock was defective but insisted the lock was "fit for its intended purpose."

"(CGV) alleges ... it acted with reasonable and prudent care and was not negligent and that its conduct did not fall below the appropriate standard of care," the company said in court documents, adding there was no breach of contract, "whether expressed or implied."

The plaintiffs have asked for compensation of at least $50,000 each for medical damages. CGV is calling for the case to be dismissed.

Forum News Service typically does not name victims in sexual assault cases unless they make their names public.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248
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