FDPD catches felony abuse suspect

A Fort Dodge man suspected in the sexual assault of a woman has been arrested three days after police began searching for him.

Mandell Clark, 37, was arrested Tuesday evening by Fort Dodge Police.

He’s charged with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, one count of willful injury and one count of first-degree theft. Clark has been charged as a habitual offender on all four counts.

Police Chief Tim Carmody said information from the public as well as the investigative work of Lt. Matt Wilson and his patrol staff led officers to the 600 block of Forest Avenue. Clark was arrested without incident shortly after 10:30 p.m.

Clark appeared in Webster County Magistrate Court Wednesday morning via closed-circuit television monitor. His attorney, Derek Johnson, of Fort Dodge, was present on Clark’s behalf in the courtroom.

Magistrate Steve Kersten ordered Clark held on $80,000 bond.

Johnson asked Kersten to set bond at $20,000.

“All these charges are from the same case,” he said. “I’d ask the court to set one bond at $20,000.”

Kersten decided against the lower bond, citing Clark’s criminal record, which includes two felony convictions, and the fact Clark was released from prison last October on a willful injury conviction.

Johnson also requested a preliminary hearing and bond review, which were scheduled for Jan. 18.

It’s alleged that Clark forced a 45-year-old woman to commit two sexual acts on him on Jan. 4 in the 1400 block of 10th Avenue S.W.

According to the criminal complaint, Clark punched the victim in the back of the head and slammed her head against the steering wheel of the car they were in.

Clark strangled the woman, which caused a “serious injury,” according to the complaint.

He’s also accused of taking the woman’s cell phone from her.

Fort Dodge Police began investigating the case shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday. Once Clark was identified as the suspect, members of the Fort Dodge/Webster County Special Emergency Response Team execute a search warrant at Clark’s house, but didn’t find him there.

Carmody said the department hopes Clark’s arrest will provide closure for the victim, as well as give Clark a chance to present his case.