Posted: Sep 12, 2012 9:20 AM by Erin Schattauer - MTN News
Updated: Sep 12, 2012 10:20 AM
BOZEMAN - A sentencing hearing is getting underway this morning for a former Bozeman High School track coach who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two teenage girls.
The Gallatin County courtroom is full this morning with people supporting James Evans seated on one side of the aisle and the victims, their families and other supporters seated on the other side.
The hearing was set to begin at 9 a.m. this morning and is scheduled for the entire day.
Earlier this year, Evans pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually abusing children and one charge of tampering with evidence. Prosecutors accuse him of sending sexually explicit text messages and pictures to high school female athletes in 2010. He's accused of trying to entice teenage students to engage in sexual conduct and sent them electronic messages and images with inappropriate sexual content.
Under the plea agreement, the State plans to ask that Evans be sentenced to 30 days in the county jail, followed by five years in the Department of Corrections and then 15 years of probation. He must also register as a sexual offender. Gallatin County District Court Judge Mike Salvagni does not have to follow the prosecutor's recommendations and can impose a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Before pleading guilty, Evans had previously filed motions to get the case dropped, but the judge rejected the request.