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Letter dated January 18, 1919 from States Attorney for Cavalier County Gudmundur Grimson to Attorney General William Langer, providing a chronological account of the steps he took upon hearing the D** family's accusation that Hiram J. Stepp of Sarles, North Dakota raped and impregnated their teenage daughter F******* in February 1918. Grimson describes his initial interviews in December 1918 with the D**s, Stepp, and Stepp's nephew Larry who was also a person of interest in the alleged crime, as well as the events that led to Judge Kneeshaw's dismissal of the case against Hiram J. Stepp. Grimson also provides his opinion on the veracity of F******* D**'s account of the alleged crime, his suspicion that Hiram J. Stepp induced his nephew to alter his account of events to raise doubt about the paternity of D**'s infant, and his inkling about the role of local rivalries in the accusations against the elder Stepp. Grimson also asserts that, despite what Langer had been told by someone familiar with the case, he did not side-step his duty as States Attorney, but rather gave the case due diligence and believes the Judge made the right call in dismissing it.

See also:

1081, in which Ernest and Matilda D** (parents of F*******) describe the events outlined in Grimson's letter,

1139, in which Langer tells Kneeshaw about the many complaints he's received about the mishandling of the case and asks his advice about having Grimson rearrest H.J. Stepp,

1081, 1139, 1116, 1133, 1134

Date of Work



State v. Stepp, F******* D**, H.J. Stepp, Larry Stepp, rape case, Sarles

People Referenced

Ernest* D**, F******* D**, Matilda D**, F.L. Fancher, F.R. Hinkle, W.J. Kneeshaw, George McLean, Mr. Ogle, Hiram J. Stepp, Larry Stepp, R.E. Stepp


Political History | United States History


Please note that information related to the identification of the underage victim in this case has been redacted from the digital collection per library policy. The original documents are available to researchers at the Chester Fritz Special Collections Library.

Letter from States Attorney Grimson to Attorney General Langer Regarding Initial Proceedings in Stepp Case, 1919