Montana Supreme Court rejects appeal by child rapist

2013-07-26T17:00:00Z 2013-07-26T17:00:02Z Montana Supreme Court rejects appeal by child rapistBy GREG TUTTLE/Billings Gazette missoulian.com
July 26, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of a Billings man serving six consecutive life sentences for raping a 7-year-old girl.

In an order filed Tuesday, a five-member panel of justices affirmed the case against Lucien Sidney Bonck III, who appealed his case in November.

Bonck, 59, argued in the appeal that he did not receive a fair trial and his convictions should be reversed or dismissed.

Bonck was convicted of three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of sexual assault and tampering at a trial held in February 2011.

Judge Gregory Todd imposed the consecutive life sentences at a contentious hearing in September 2011 at which Bonck said his appeal would have an "80 percent chance of success."

In his appeal, Bonck said a member of the jury was allowed to stay on the panel despite the disclosure that he was the father of a longtime friend of one of the prosecutors.

In its decision, the Supreme Court said Bonck's attorney was given the opportunity to question the juror and did not object to him remaining on the panel.

Bonck also claimed the judge allowed improper testimony at the trial and failed to read an instruction to the jury about how to consider the testimony of a child witness.

The justices also rejected those arguments, finding that the testimony was proper and no harm was caused when the jury was given the instruction immediately following the child's testimony.

Finally, Bonck argued that the judge failed to properly analyze a claim that his right to a speedy trial had been violated. Bonck spent more than two years in the county jail before his case went to trial.

The justices said they agreed with Todd's decision that many of the delays in Bonck's case were due to his "multiple motions to continue, and his waiver of speedy trial rights throughout the proceeding."

Bonck was previously convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy, which resulted in a 20-year sentence.

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