By Sandy Schroth

Bail set at $1 million in Holt County sexual assault case


March 20, 2024

A 36-year-old O’Neill man is being held in the Holt County Jail on a $1 million bond on charges of sexual assault of a child.

Michael L. Ford was ordered held without bond by the Honorable Kale Burdick when he was arrested Jan. 25. Holt County public defender Rod Smith was appointed as counsel.

Burdick subsequently sealed the arrest affidavit, citing identifying information regarding a minor victim. He held a bond review hearing Feb. 6, setting bond at $1 million, 10% cash. Bond conditions also include a provision for no contact with the alleged victim nor the victim’s mother. Ford will need to post $100,000, to be released from the jail.

Holt County attorney Brent Kelly filed a complaint Feb. 20, charging Ford with two Class 1B felony counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child under 12 years of age.

Ford waived his right to preliminary hearing when he appeared in the Holt County court March 5 and Burdick bound the case over to the Holt County district court.

Ford is set for district court arraignment March 25.


Kelsey L. Alder, 36, of O’Neill waived her right to preliminary hearing when she faced Burdick March 5 as well.

She was bound over to Holt County district court, where she is scheduled for arraignment March 25, on a Class 3A felony count, terroristic threats, alleged Jan. 12.

According to an arrest affidavit, Alder is accused of sending threatening text messages to her ex-husband.

Alder is represented by Smith.


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