A Lolo man who pleaded guilty to raping a 6-year-old girl last year was sentenced to 25 years in the Montana State Prison on Tuesday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Under the agreement, a second case from May 2016 in which Lance Matthew Ring was accused of raping another woman while he was awaiting sentencing for raping the child, was dismissed.
Ring was arrested in May 2015 and charged with sexual intercourse without consent after the 6-year-old girl told a forensic examiner he had taken her to a bedroom, blindfolded her and put something in her mouth. When he was interviewed by law enforcement officers, Ring admitted to forcing the girl to perform oral sex.
In May 2016, Ring pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent as part of a plea agreement that dismissed a second charge for sexual abuse of children. The plea agreement called for a 25-year prison sentence with 15 years suspended.
Despite multiple requests by prosecutors to revoke his release, Ring was out of custody on pretrial supervision during his change of plea hearing. District Court Judge Karen Townsend warned him she had heard allegations he had contact with a minor, prohibited by the terms of his release. Townsend declined to take him into custody on the violation in May, allowing him to remain released until sentencing.
Two weeks after pleading guilty, Ring was arrested again and charged with a new count of sexual intercourse without consent after he allegedly offered a woman a ride home, but instead took her to a parking lot and offered to pay her for sex. The woman reportedly tried to take the money and leave, after which Ring allegedly strangled the woman and forced her into multiple sex acts.
As part of Ring’s latest plea agreement, assistant chief deputy county attorney Jennifer Clark dismissed the May 2016 rape case.
Ring will not be eligible for parole until he completes the first two phases of sex offender treatment. He also received credit for 98 days already served in custody.
According to the Montana State Prison, inmates typically enter the first phase of treatment, which lasts approximately four months, within two years of incarceration. Inmates generally enter phase two treatment, which takes between 15 and 24 months to complete, within two years of completing phase one.
CHAMBERSBURG - A former Greencastle man will likely spend the rest of his life in state prison after a jury convicted him of raping a young girl related to him.
Kenneth Lewis Bowling, 52, was sentenced to 32.5 to 90 years in state prison on convictions of child rape, aggravated indecent assault, aggravated involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of incest.
The second count of incest stemmed from Bowling having an inappropriate relationship with a woman related to him after she turned 18. In both cases, these incidents occurred in Greencastle and Waynesboro, between 2003 and 2013.
During an emotional trial, a young woman testified to the years of sexual abuse Bowling put her through, which began with things like showering and napping together. Bowling's estranged wife, Jean Marie Bowling, testified during the trial to seeing things like the napping together, but did not realize what was happening at the time.
Just before Bowling's sentencing hearing began, he also underwent proceedings to determine if he was a sexually violent predator. After hearing testimony about Bowling having pedophilia, Franklin County President Judge Carol Van Horn ruled Bowling a sexually violent predator, meaning he is required to register for the rest of his life.
During sentencing, one of Bowling's victims said she had always wondered what was wrong with her.
"I was a good kid. I was a really good kid," she testified. "I didn't deserve that."
Bowling's attorney Ian Brink argued that Van Horn had Bowling's life in her hands, as she could easily sentence him to life. He also argued that the prosecution appeared to "pile on" charges, contending that the incest charge might not typically have been filed where a child rape charge was.
Bowling had nothing to say other than "whatever happens happens."
Van Horn then spoke, saying she disagreed with Brink's claim that Bowling's life was in her hands.
"The choices you have made have brought you to the criminal justice system," Van Horn said. She added it not her choices, but rather his "despicable choices" that she had to make a judgment on.
Van Horn said she would impose maximum sentences on each charge.
"I can think of no worse charge other than murder," Van Horn said of the child rape charge, adding that while he did not take the girl's life, "you could have destroyed her."
Van Horn called the girl brave, and said that she did not feel the prosecution "piled on charges" but rather that Bowling "piled on your assaults, for years."
When it came to the incest charges, Van Horn said she felt that both victims deserved to be represented in the sentence.
Van Horn also determined sentences would run consecutively rather than concurrently, because Bowling's actions "were not concurrent."
In addition to the prison time, Bowling will pay $300 fines on each charge, and is prohibited from having contact with the victims or anyone under 18.