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UND student faces felony luring charge

Kwame Duah

A man who says he’s a UND student appeared Wednesday in court on a charge he lured a 13-year-old girl using text messages seeking sexual acts from her, meeting her twice in Grand Forks.

Kwame Duah, 26, could face up to 10 years in prison and a lifetime as a registered sex offender if he’s convicted, state District Judge Debbie Kleven told him during his initial appearance.

According to a police investigator’s affidavit of probable cause, the girl told police in February she had received text messages from a “James,” asking her to engage in sexual acts. She replied, “No thanks, I’m a little young for that,” investigators said after searching her phone messages.

During an interview at his on-campus residence, Duah admitted to investigators he sent the messages and met twice with the girl and said he thought she was “15 or 16,” police say.

Duah, appearing in court via interactive television from the Grand Forks County jail, told Kleven he’s from New York, came to Grand Forks about three years ago and is a UND student. His address, where police searched for and seized his cell phone, is in the 1100 block of Northwestern Drive, which is UND housing.

He applied for a court-appointed attorney but wasn’t represented Wednesday. Kleven set his preliminary hearing for April 23 and his bond at $10,000 cash or surety.

According to court records, agents from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are involved in the investigation, as well as personnel from Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo.

The girl’s mother also is listed as a possible prosecution witness in the case.