Fargo, ND – Dr. Jon Norberg, a Fargo orthopedic surgeon, plead guilty
to felony reckless endangerment under an Alford plea in a deal reached with prosecutors back in January. He stood accused of raping “a woman who was not his patient” after administering the anesthetic propofol to her more than 30 times over an 18 month period, and having sex with her when she was incapacitated by the drug. He also plead guilty to a reduced misdemeanor count of sexual assault.
After his plea deal Norberg stepped to the microphones and told reporters that he took the plea agreement, which reduced a Class AA felony charge of gross sexual imposition to a Class B misdemeanor sexual assault and felony reckless endangerment, because he didn’t want to risk a “knee-jerk response” of jurors to propofol, the drug put in a national spotlight after the death of pop star Michael Jackson. He then denied that he was responsible for any wrong doing and denied that he was in fact guilty of any charges.
The next day the victim came forward…it was his wife, Dr. Alonna Norberg. After Dr. Jon Norberg’s plea, he made statements to the media which were false, according to Mrs. Norberg, who said she came forward to set the public record straight. “I would have preferred that these matters remain private to shield my children, but the legal cases and news coverage make it important that I correct the public record,” she said in a statement released by her attorney. According to court documents, she has filed for a divorce. However her husband claimed to the media that it was he who asked her for the divorce and she retaliated by filing the criminal complaint against him. “In all of these legal arenas, there is a factual record demonstrating that Jon Norberg used a powerful drug in an inappropriate fashion and under dangerous conditions and sexually assaulted me,” Alonna Norberg said in her statement. “I did not consent to him doing so.”
Norberg has claimed his wife consented to receiving the propofol and that both of them agreed upon it as a treatment her chronic pain from an autoimmune disease.
Despite his no-contest plea to the misdemeanor sexual assault charge, Jon Norberg now denies abusing his wife while she was sedated.
“Perpetrators routinely try to avoid accountability by denying facts and attempting to shift the blame to the victim,” Alonna Norberg said in the statement, adding, “But, it is important that victims not be bullied by these tactics.” See video HERE.
The criminal case was closed, with Jon Norberg facing a light sentence, possibly even escaping jail time. But, the divorce proceedings were underway and when he failed to get the judge in the divorce case to order his recent criminal charges and convictions inadmissible, he turned around and motioned the criminal court to withdraw his guilty plea. They granted his request and now he faces serious jail time if he is found guilty. Can it REALLY be that Norberg was willing to risk a life sentence for multiple counts of rape just so he could come out better in divorce proceedings? We think so. That’s how it appears and we wait for the progression of the criminal trial to show otherwise.
Jury selection began this morning. Because of intense media coverage of the Jon Norberg case, Judge Douglas Herman asked all 59 jury candidates to answer three questions: whether they have seen or heard anything about the case since filling out a jury questionnaire several weeks ago; the nature of what they saw or heard; and whether it will make it more difficult for them to be a fair-minded juror. Herman excused two jurors after reviewing their answers with the attorneys. Another was excused because he was hard of hearing.
Herman told potential jurors that the trial, the first in a new $14.7 million addition to the Cass County Courthouse, is estimated to take two weeks, with jury deliberations possibly lasting until Thanksgiving. Norberg is charged in Cass County District Court with gross sexual imposition, a Class AA felony carrying up to life in prison, and reckless endangerment for allegedly drugging his wife with propofol and then engaging in sexual acts with her while she was unconscious.
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