David Vaughan Bruce

David Vaughan Bruce

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A 28-year-old Missoula man who received a deferral of sentence for dropping and biting a 3-month-old baby in 2013 has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child.

In April, David Vaughan Bruce was charged with felony sexual assault after he told his probation officer he molested a young girl. Bruce told a police officer the behavior started in July 2015, and described several instances between that point and the spring of 2016.

Bruce pleaded guilty to the charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said Bruce was set as a tier two sexual offender.

On Tuesday, Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Bruce to 25 years in the Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended. He will not be eligible to apply for parole until he completes sexual offender treatment while incarcerated.

When he was charged with the most recent felony, Bruce was already under a deferred sentence for a previous crime involving a child.

In June 2013, Bruce was charged with two felony counts of assault on a minor. According to his court affidavit, Bruce was alone with a three-month-old baby in an apartment when the child started to cry. When he opened the door to put the baby in a crib, Bruce told a detective the child had pushed against him and dropped out of his grasp, landing face-first.

In an attempt to get the baby to stop crying, Bruce said he bit the child on the face. He then informed the child’s mother what had happened, and she took the baby to the hospital.

In the 2013 case, Bruce told the detective that he was a person with a “monster inside” and that he regularly became frustrated when the baby was fussy.

In 2014, Judge Townsend gave him a three-year deferral of sentence after Bruce entered a plea agreement with prosecutors that amended his charges to criminal endangerment, also a felony. As part of his sentencing Tuesday, Townsend imposed a 10-year prison sentence for violating the terms of his deferred sentence, running that time concurrent with the sentence in his 2016 case.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for The Missoulian.