GLASGOW, Mont. -- An eastern Montana man has been given a 30-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to raping his 12-year-old daughter last year.
District Judge John McKeon sentenced the man to 60 days in jail for incest, giving him credit for 17 already served, the Glasgow Courier reported. The man also was ordered to complete community-based sex-offender treatment and register as a sex offender.
The Associated Press is not naming the man to avoid identifying the victim of a sexual assault.
Deputy Valley County Attorney Dylan Jensen recommended a 100-year prison sentence with 75 years suspended - as called for in state law - as part of a plea agreement that recommended the dismissal of two other incest charges.
“A father repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter,” Jensen said during the Oct. 4 sentencing hearing.
A licensed clinical social worker testified that the man was a low-risk to re-offend and that it would be important for him to have social support while he received treatment. The social worker, Michael Sullivan of Billings, said the man did suffer a “collapse of social support” when he lost his family and job.
Court records said the girl’s mother walked in on one of the sexual assaults.
Public defender Casey Moore argued there was more than one way to hold a person accountable, the Courier reported.
“I’m not asking that he be given a slap on the wrist,” Moore said. “He did spend 17 days in jail and he did lose his job,” and will be on supervision for the rest of his life.
McKeon said he diverted from the recommended sentence because the man had support from his family, friends, church and his employer. The Courier reports the girl’s mother and grandmother were among those supporting a community-based punishment. Someone wrote that “he was a good father for 12 years,” and another said he was not a monster, but a man who had made a mistake.
Jensen told the Courier that he was shocked and disappointed with the sentence, but respected the judge’s decision.
McKeon is retiring next month after 22 years as a state judge.
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.