A 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty to raping two Missoula teens and exploited others for nude photos was sentenced to 20 years in the Department of Corrections on Tuesday, with 15 of those years suspended.
Justin Robert Wieder pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual intercourse without consent — Montana’s law for rape — and a felony count of sexual abuse of children in August as part of a plea agreement.
That agreement dismissed other rape and sexual abuse charges from two of Wieder’s three felony cases and dropped all the charges — including allegations of recording sexual contact with a girl a judge had forbidden him to see — from a third case.
Wieder was originally charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in June 2016. In the year after that, he was arrested for violating release conditions by contacting the girls or having new felony charges filed against him.
Since pleading guilty this summer, Wieder has been under the supervision of his father, who lives in Augusta.
On Tuesday Wieder’s public defender Jennifer Streano asked for the sentencing hearing — which had already been delayed twice — to be pushed back yet again. Wieder had been screened and approved to go to the Billings Pre-Release Center but the service doesn’t have a spot open yet and Streano didn’t want to go through with sentencing only to have Wieder wait in a jail cell in Missoula until he could be transferred to the program.
Prosecutor Jennifer Clark said in the interest of giving victims closure, District Court Judge Karen Townsend shouldn’t push sentencing off again. The judge agreed, saying the Department of Corrections sentence Wieder negotiated in his plea agreement allowed for the possibility of incarceration, and she didn’t find it necessary to wait any more.
Townsend also said a presentence report prepared by a probation officer recommended against allowing Wieder to go to a community supervision placement like the Billings Pre-Release Center at all, citing his “blatant disregard for pretrial conditions” during Wieder’s periods of release while his criminal cases were active.
As part of the judge’s sentence, Wieder also will register as a tier one, or low risk, sex offender.