Posted: Jun 29, 2012 11:03 AM by US Attorney's Office
Updated: Jun 29, 2012 11:03 AM
William Nelson Thurlow of Livingston, an officer with the Montana Department of Probation & Parole, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a probationer while performing his official duties.
The formal charge that he pled guilty to is "deprivation of rights under color of law."
Here is the full press release from the US Attorney's Office:
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on June 28, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, William Nelson Thurlow, a 68-year-old resident of Livingston, appeared for sentencing.
Thurlow was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 48 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 3 years
Thurlow was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to deprivation of rights under color of law.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On March 22, 2011, Thurlow was employed by the State of Montana as an officer with the Department of Probation and Parole and assigned to supervise probationer "XX" While acting in his official capacity, Thurlow went to "XX"'s residence unannounced and by himself.
Thurlow, while at the residence, forced his hand up "XX"'s shorts and penetrated "XX"'s vagina with his finger. Thurlow then grabbed "XX" again, forced his hand up her shirt touching her breast, and tried to force her in the bathroom of her apartment. "XX" managed to get away from Thurlow because her young child was in the small apartment and spilled his milk when he saw the assault. After these events occurred, "XX" felt pain in her vagina and had trouble urinating for several days.
Thurlow admitted to this conduct to members of law enforcement.
"Protecting the rights of every citizen is of paramount importance to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice takes very seriously the abuse of authority by law enforcement personnel and will prosecute those who criminally violate the civil rights of others. The sentence imposed by the Court in this case should demonstrate to the public that such actions will not be tolerated by the community." United States Attorney Michael W. Cotter.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that Thurlow will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Thurlow does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.