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Montana Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

The state of Montana has strict laws against sex crimes enacted by the judicial system of Montana. Crimes of sexual nature pose a hindrance to the peace, order, and morals of the public. Persons found guilty of a sexual allegation may face severe penalties such as huge fines and imprisonment. Depending on the severity of the offense, sex violators may face long-term civil rights losses such as suspension of work license and residential restrictions if the offenders register in the Montana sex offender registry.

What is a Montana Sex Crime?

The Montana penal code describes sex crimes as unlawful sexual acts done to any individual or child below the legal age of 18. Under the Montana Code Annotated 45–5–502, any intentional act of a sexual motive that leads to the other party’s subjection to sexual contact without consent or with another person who is incapable of consent is a sexual assault. Not all sex crimes deal with minors or involve violence. Other sex crimes include child pornography possession, indecent exposure, and incest.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

In the state of Montana, it is illegal to participate in sexual activities with another person without seeking consent. A sex crime violation can result in a felony conviction and possibly a life sentence if the assault amounts to serious injury. The Montana sex laws list the following as sex offenses in the state:

Sexual Assault: A person who intentionally makes sexual contact without consent is guilty of sexual assault. The punishments depend on the number of prior convictions:

  • The first conviction for sexual assault would see the offender fined a maximum of $1,000, plus imprisonment for a maximum of six months, or both.
  • The second conviction attracts a maximum of $1,000, one-year imprisonment, or both.
  • On the third conviction for sexual assault, the sex abuser will be fined a maximum of $10,000, be imprisoned for five years, or both.

If the victim is below the age of 16 years, and the offender is three or more years older, the offender shall face penalties of life imprisonment or imprisonment in the state prison for at least four years. Additionally, the offender will pay a fine of $50,000.

Rape (Sexual Intercourse Without Consent): In Montana, any individual who indulges in sexual intercourse with a child below the age of 16 commits the crime of sexual intercourse without consent. A person found guilty of this offense will be imprisoned for life in the state prison for two years to a hundred years and can also be fined a maximum of $50,000. Suppose the victim is less than 16 years old and the offender is four or more years older than the victim, or the sex criminal causes bodily injury to anyone. In that case, the individual will face the penalty of life imprisonment. The party may also face fines of a maximum of $50,000. In situations where the offender has previous convictions under the laws of another state or the United States, the offender can be:

  • Punished by death, except if the offender had not turned 18 years old at the time of commission.
  • Punished by a life sentence without the opportunity of parole

If the victim was 12 years old or younger and the offender was 18 years or older at the time of commission, the violator can be;

  • Fined to the tune of $50,000 and will be mandated to enroll in and complete the educational, cognitive, and behavioral phase of a sex offender treatment program provided by the Department of Corrections.
  • Punished by imprisonment in a state facility for 100 years.

Sexual Abuse of Children: A person can only be charged for sexual abuse of children in Montana if the individual:

  • Intentionally uses or permits the use of a child to exhibit sexual conduct.
  • Photographs, films, produces, advertises, or sells materials portraying a child indulging in sexual activities.
  • By any form of communication, persuades, entices, coerces, or procures a child under 16 years old to engage in sexual conduct.
  • Travels within or to Montana to meet a child under the age of 16 to indulge in sexual activities.
  • Persuades or solicits a child under 16 years to travel within, from, or to Montana to engage in sexual conduct, whether actual or simulated.

A person guilty of sexual abuse of children will face life imprisonment or incarceration in the state prison for a maximum of 100 years and be asked to pay a fine of $10,000. Furthermore, if the victim is under the age of 16, the penalty includes life incarceration or imprisonment for a minimum of four years and a maximum of 100 years and a fine of $10,000. However, if the victim was 12 years of age or younger, and the offender is 18years and above, the offender:

  • Will be punished by imprisonment in the state’s holding facility for 100 years, and the offender is not eligible for parole.
  • Can be fined to the tune of $50,000.

Will take part in the educational, cognitive, and behavioral phase of a sexual offender treatment program as approved by the Department of Corrections.

Indecent Exposure: Indecent exposure in Montana means purposely exposing genitals or intimate parts of the body physically or electronically. The offender is likely to harass and degrade another person. Also, arouse or gratify the sexual responses of others. Punishment for indecent exposure includes a fine of $500 or six months of jail time or both. For a second conviction, the charge is $1,000 and a one year jail time. On a third conviction, the sex abuser will pay a maximum of $10,000, be imprisoned in a state facility for ten years, or both.

Prostitution: Prostitution is against the regulations of Montana. If a person engages in, agrees, or offers to indulge in sexual intercourse with another person for compensation, the individual will be charged. Offenders will be fined $500 or incarcerated in a county jail for a period of six months, or both. If the prostitute is 18 years of age or older, the patron offender:

  • Will face imprisonment in a state facility for the duration of 100 years as the offender is not eligible for parole.
  • Can be fined a maximum of $50,000 and be mandated to attend sexual offender treatment.

Promoting Prostitution: Persons guilty of promoting prostitution commits any of the following:

  • Lives in on the earnings of prostitutes;
  • Leases or permits a property to be regularly used for prostitution and fails to expel such tenants;
  • Moves an individual into or within the state of Montana to promote prostitution;
  • Procures a prostitute for patronage;
  • Solicits a prostitute for another individual;
  • Encourage or cause another to become a prostitute.
  • Manages a house or a business involving the patronage of prostitutes.

Persons found guilty of promoting prostitution will get a maximum fine of $50,000, or 10 years imprisonment, or both. If the person indulging in prostitution was a child and the patron was 18 years and above, whether the patron knows the age of the child or not, the offender:

  • Will be fined up to $50,000.
  • Will face jail time for 100 years
  • Will be mandated to complete the educational, cognitive, and behavioral phase of a sexual offender treatment program, following recommendations by the Department of Corrections.

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Montana

According to the Montana Legislative Services Division, Office of Research and Policy Analysis, 14 sexual offenses requires registration in Montana Sexual and Violent Offender Registry, and laws classify offenders into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 offenders (low-risk offenders)
  • Tier 2 offenders (moderate-risk offenders)
  • Tier 3 offenders (high-risk offenders)

The grouping depends on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Also, the duration of registration depends on the class of the offender, as;

  • Tier 1 offenders register for ten years.
  • Tier 2 offenders register for 25 years.
  • Tier 3 offenders register for a lifetime.

Persons convicted for sex offenses in other states but who wish to attend school, work, or relocate to Montana must register within three days of entering. It is pertinent for sex offenders in Montana to register with the state’s justice department within ten days of release from a correction facility.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Montana?

The Montana constitution classifies sex offenders based on the risk of reoffense rather than the kind of crime committed. Information on sex offenders can be acquired online, by email, or by phone to the relevant county Sheriff’s Office in Montana. For state sex offender inquiries, persons can reach out to the Department of Justice Sexual or Violent Offender Registry in person, by email, or phone call. However, not all violators of Montana’s sex laws are mandated to proceed to sex offender registration.

Montana Sex Offender Registry

Montana’s sex offender registry is maintained by the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Unit based on Montana’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry Act (SVORA). The registry curtails the repeats of sexual crimes and provides information to the public about sex offenders in the state. Information provided by the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Unit is subject to frequent revision to include accurate details of violent offenders and other high-risk offenders. Details about tier 1 offenders are not visible to the public because of the low risk of repeating the sexual offense. Tier 2 and tier 3 are for high-risk offenders based on the potentiality of sexual offense repeat.

Montana’s portal for sex offender registration contains details of the sex abuser, including recent photograph, offense type, and address. Physical data on the sex registration webpage also include hair color, eye color, height, weight, scars, marks, and tattoos.

Interested members of the public can choose basic offender search or neighborhood search. Both offer the option of selecting the degree of a sex offense and adding other details such as the offender’s last name, county, city, and postal code.

For suggestions and further assistance, contact the Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Unit Division of Criminal Investigation via the address below:

Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Unit

Division of Criminal Investigation

P. O. Box 201417

Helena, MT 59620–1417

Sexual Offender Information Phone: (406) 444–7068

Violent Offender Information Phone: (406) 444–9877

Fax: (406) 444–2759

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Montana?

Part of the collateral damage attached to sex offense convictions is restriction laws that limit sex offenders from fully integrating with society without monitoring. Failure to comply with the Montana state’s sex offender restrictions will lead to prosecution for a felony. The limits for sex violators include the following:

  • Any high-risk sex offender in the state of Montana may not reside in any area within 300 feet of a school, or other facilities that primarily serves children in terms of business, education, and entertainment. An offender is considered high-risk unless such establishments have been in existence before May 5, 2015, according to Montana Code MCA 45–5–513.
  • Any high-risk sex offender may not establish a residence in a zone inhabited by minors or live with minor except the offender is the parent, grandparent, or stepparent of the juvenile.

All of the mentioned restrictions do not apply to sex offenders who are no longer under the department of corrections’ supervision. Or if the high-risk sex offender has an approved safety plan from a certified sexual offender evaluator to minimize the risk of reoffending and safeguard the general public.

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