Aug 20, 2012 7:05 PM by MTN News

Anaconda commissioner faces charges for alleged sex crimes against young girl

Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Commissioner Robert Pierce, 51, was arrested Friday just after 3 p.m. for allegedly committing sexual intercourse without consent and sexual assault. Both are felonies.

Pierce has been under investigation since February after police received a report that he had allegedly sexually assaulted a young girl.

Due to conflict of interest, the county referred the matter to the Montana Department of Justice, Department of Criminal Investigation. The case was assigned to Agent John Sullivan according to Police Chief Tim Barkell. KXLF left Sullivan a message Monday and have yet to hear back.

According to court documents, a forensic interview was done and the victim, now 14, listed at least 3 occasions where Pierce touched her or made her touch him inappropriately. During the interview,the victim said the first incident occurred when she was in 3rd or 4th grade.

In 2012, the victim reported the incidents to her mother and when her mother confronted Pierce, he denied the allegations. On a separate occasion, the victim phoned Pierce to confront him. Pierce was unaware her mother was listening.

"Pierce threatened to tell people that it was the 14-year-old that touched him, Pierce said this is ruining his life. Pierce said I am not going to admit this and if you pursue this, I will make your life terrible. Pierce further stated that he was going to jump out a 19 story building and kill himself," according to the affidavit.

Based on the facts listed in the affidavit, the state believes there was probable cause to arrest Pierce.

According to Barkell, Pierce recently posted a $20,000 dollar bond and is on a conditional release. Some of those conditions require that Pierce be on formal house arrest. He must stay at home when he is not at work or meeting with his attorney.

According to the county, Pierce does not have to resign unless convicted. Pierce could not be reached for comment Monday.


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