Aug 28, 2012 9:36 AM by Jen Hollenbach - MTN News

Guilty verdict for Montana man accused of raping half-sister

GREAT FALLS - Joshua Lyle, the Sun Prairie man accused of raping his half-sister over a span of six years, has been found guilty.

The jury received the case on Monday afternoon and returned a verdict shortly after 8 p.m.

He was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and two charges of incest, and found guilty on all counts.

Prosecutors plan to request sentencing enhancement based on the victim's age; sentencing has been scheduled for October 4th.

According to statements made in court, these sexual acts had been going on from 2005 to 2011 in the victim's home and the victim's sister's home.

The state argued that the victim kept quiet out of pressure from her family.

Prosecutor Steve Bolstad said, "The cover-up effort made by the perpetrator and others, the cover-up centered on an idea of what happens in the family, stays in the family."

Lyle admitted to authorities that he had repeatedly received oral sex from the victim and fondled her inappropriately on numerous occasions.

But defense attorney Vince Van der Hagen says that what Lyle told police isn't true; he told the court, "Yes, Josh Lyle is a mixed up, confused guy. We're not disputing that. But there was a confession here, ladies and gentlemen. But it's a false confession."

The defense went on to tell jury members that the victim's accusations were false; Van der Hagen said, "What I want to tell you is it never happened. And we're going to show you why this young lady made the statements she did."

While in custody, Lyle allegedly made phone calls to his mother who allegedly scolded Lyle for confessing.

Prosecutors say the mother was instructing Lyle on what to tell detectives.

Prosecutor Bolstad said, "You will here how she instructed him to say that he lied in order to keep the family together."

The victim did take the stand during Tuesday's court session and verified that Lyle did molest her, but could not recollect details of interviews with detectives and social workers.


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