A former deputy with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department who two years ago was shot at while pursuing fugitive David Burgert in the mountains west of Missoula pleaded guilty Tuesday to having and soliciting sexual relations with a teenage boy.

Larry Schwindt was fired from the department in January during an investigation into a complaint that he had engaged in an inappropriate and possibly unlawful relationship with a 17-year-old minor.

Schwindt’s plea Tuesday in Missoula Justice Court before John Odlin was based on events that led up to and ensued from a sexual encounter he had with a 17-year-old male in a parking lot in Alberton in the spring of 2012, according to court records.

Schwindt pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and one count of attempted unlawful transactions with children, first offense. Both are misdemeanors.

A third charge of high misdemeanor prostitution was dismissed. It was based on Schwindt’s admitted use of a digital alter ego on Craigslist, “Sarah Richardson,” to initially engage the boy.

Schwindt received a six-month suspended sentence along with fines and surcharges totaling $1,170 for the two misdemeanors. Odlin ordered him to surrender his Police Officer Standards and Training certification and to not seek employment as a law enforcement or detention officer. He was further told to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 without approval of a court-appointed representative.

The state’s complaint, lodged by Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, said Schwindt admitted to many of the details that the teen identified as “John Doe” told Capt. Josh Clark and detective David Conway in a Jan. 8 interview.

Doe’s parents met with Clark the day before and told him of the relationship. They provided a computer with Facebook conversations that “detailed the specifics of the physical relationship between Schwindt and Doe,” the affidavit said.

“The conversations … predominantly revolved around Schwindt attempting to persuade Doe to have another sexual encounter. Schwindt went on to promise to provide Doe with alcohol for compensation of sexual intercourse.”

***

Doe told Clark and Conway he developed a text and e-mail relationship with Schwindt through the Craigslist personal post by “Sarah.”

“Eventually, Sarah impliedly promised Doe that she would meet him for a sexual encounter if he would first meet Larry Schwindt for a sexual encounter,” the records stated.

The boy never met “Sarah,” and Schwindt admitted to investigators he had created her to engage Doe. Eventually, Schwindt and the boy met on a spring night at “approximately midnight” in the parking lot of the Valley Grocery store in Alberton. They engaged in a sexual act in Schwindt’s Dodge Durango.

Doe told detectives he forgot his sweatshirt that night and the two arranged to meet a couple days later at the Orange Street exit on Interstate 90 in Missoula to return it. Schwindt was driving a marked patrol vehicle from the sheriff’s office and wore his deputy’s uniform for the meeting. Doe said he had not known until then that Schwindt was a Missoula County sheriff’s deputy.

Schwindt’s subsequent attempts via Facebook to arrange another rendezvous were declined, even when the deputy offered to provide the underage male with beer in exchange for sex. Schwindt identified himself in the posts as “your Cop buddy,” the affidavit said, and his profile photo that showed up each time he sent Doe a message displayed Schwindt in uniform standing alongside other law enforcement officers.

Schwindt, who was 30 when charges were first brought to light in January, had been with the department approximately two years at the time.

He was with another sheriff’s deputy on June 12, 2011, when they engaged in a chase of Burgert, a former militia leader, up Lolo Creek and Graves Creek. Burgert disappeared into the mountains on foot, but not before exchanging shots with the deputies. He’s not been seen since.

Later that year, the two deputies were featured in the opening segment of the 2011 season premiere of “America’s Most Wanted.” Schwindt received an Armed Action Medal from the Missoula sheriff’s department last spring.

Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at (406) 523-5266 or by email at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.

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(21) comments

MontanaTaxPayer
MontanaTaxPayer

After reading this story and having been molested also by a servant of Missoula County( I was 11 years old at the time), I once again find myself bringing back the terrible memories of the situation I had experienced. This should not have happened at all! When we were younger we are told by our parents, and teachers to trust these public servants, and do whatever they instruct or ask of us to do. Mr. Larry Schwindt took advantage of his position and destroyed the belief of this community. The sentence his received was only a slap on the wrist for Mr.Schwindt, and a slap in the face for justice. Missoula can not sweep this under the rug any more, because their is no longer any room for any more dirt. Mr. Doe's family should seek legal council (from outside of the state) and make sure justice will be done for all!

Clark Kent
Clark Kent

You must have information beyond what is related in the story. Nowhere does it state that the sexual encounter was anything but consensual. Please describe what crimes you believe Mr. Schwindt committed and where you obtained the information.

pophouse
pophouse

Did you read the article? If half of what the article says is true then Schwindt is an absolute first class creep and is every bit a sexual predator. I made the point earlier that we don't have laws to cover exactly what he did, but that does not make his behavior 'good' in any way. I agree that it may not be provable as rape, but it definitely was coercive. I am glad that at least Schwindt's career is ruined.

justafan
justafan

People need to googel montana code 45-5-501, 45-5-502, 45-5-503, 45-5-505 and 45-5-511 my guess is these codes were all examnined before charges made.
I find it ironic that larry Schwindt rhymes with larry flint lol.

PhilL
PhilL

NinetyNine - Did you read the article? why are you raging on the MPD? This article is about a former Sheriff Deputy from the MCSO!

Shenanigans
Shenanigans

Does Larry Schwindt even have to register as a sex offender? Folks, we put people in prison for marijuana possession, but we allow sexual predators like Larry Schwindt to walk away. If ever there was a miscarriage of justice, this is it. I can only hope Mr. Schwindt's victim sues him into financial ruin and then some in the civil courts because clearly there's no justice coming out of Fred Van Valkenburg's office.

pophouse
pophouse

Given that the age of consent in Montana is 16, I am guessing that they got Schwindt with everything that they could get him with. I agree that the guy is a complete creep and probably deserves worse, but those are the rules we have. If he wasn't a cop he probably wouldn't even be culpable for 'official misconduct'.

Clark Kent
Clark Kent

You are absolutely, 100% correct. He is (as we all are) allowed to have sex with a 17-year-old boy or 17-year-old girl, because that is not illegal. Offering beer in exchange for sex is illegal, since the teen is underage. He was charged with that crime and pleaded guilty. If he hadn't had any interaction with the teen while working in his capacity as a police officer, he would have committed only one crime. Can't hang him for that, folks.

Responsible Jeeper
Responsible Jeeper

Ummmm then why exactly was the prostitution charge dropped?
Clark Kent, not sure your age but it's concerning to me that you made sure to put "(as we all are) allowed to have sex with a 17-year-old boy or 17-year-old girl" in your statement as if you are entitled to it because the law says you can?!?!?!?!
At some point the line has to be drawn regardless of what the law says!

NinetyNine
NinetyNine

Talk about double standards and corruption in our local police department. I know people that have done prison time for way less than this. It must be nice being a member of the MPD knowing that you get a sweet paycheck and can get away with whatever you want. Schwindt should have got a MINIMUM 5 years on a felony, and there needs to be an outside investigation to expose everyone who helped cover this up to get this creep get off.

frenchy
frenchy

I notice in the comments, that no one has any sympathy for this man. Why then does everyone praise the same kind of pervert when he is in the Boy Scouts?

beckmeister
beckmeister

Who praises a child molester in the Boy Scouts?? Are you referring to gays in the Boy Scouts? By what event do you consider gay people perverts? A book written 3,500+ years ago by people that were afraid of what they didn't understand?

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

beckmeister is right. Being gay does not mean that a person is a pedophile. This creep exploited a teenager online, what has that got to do with being a Boy Scout volunteer that is not a sexual predator? Honestly, right-wingers will take any opportunity to interject their irrelevant opinions into a conversation, even if they are completely irrelevant.

mbond55
mbond55

Cops are so un-American

beckmeister
beckmeister

Misdemeanors? Wow.

PhilL
PhilL

Really? 6 month SUSPENDED sentence and fines of $1170? I don't even thing that counts as a slap on the wrist!

walter12
walter12

Very sad for our community. Nowadays, you cannot trust anyone, it seems. Our society is very ill today. From this Obama Creature all the way down in his Administration, they are all corrupt and rotten. Then what about our State, the County, the City, how many of them can you trust? And for Congress, my God, maybe a third of them you can trust.

johnny Dollar
johnny Dollar

Yep......and rumor has it the former deputy lied about Burgert firing a shot at him. He has some help from the brass at the sheriff's department as well i would think.......we do know Burgert would have been a felon with a gun and he would have been returned to the federal pen for another 10 years. But Burgert didn't fire a gun, probably did not have a gun.......and no report has ever mention that any shell casings were found. So this pervert deputy starts a nationwide manhunt and terrifies all of western montana...........to cover his lies. Can't we get better labor for our tax dollars?

Shaberts
Shaberts

Haha Johnny Dollar, "rumor has it" then you go on talking about what you think. So, you should have started your comment with "this is what Johnny Dollar made up in his head and makes no valid point or any sense".

Soldier
Soldier

Under the federal statute, by the way, the same felony charge would have applied regardless of the genders involved, i.e., even if the adult had been female and the child male, which is a long overdue enforced correction to stupid common practice.

Soldier
Soldier

Under federal statute (US PenalCode, Sec. 22.011.(a) ), he would have been charged with felony sexual assault of a child. If the child had been female, it's not hard to imagine that he would have been charged with rape, due in no small part to the "abuse of power" aspect (police officer). An honest person would have to conclude here that the outcome of this case stinks of high favoritism, not to mention abject sexism.

When are we ever going to end these incredibly stupid and disgusting double standards? Boys in this country are just road kill - until they do something wrong. And at that magic moment they simultaneously "create themselves", assign themselves a male gender, and absolve everyone else of responsibility and accountability.

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