A 20-year-old Missoula man was sentenced Tuesday for a series of rapes involving four girls over a two-year span.
A Missoula judge sentenced Bryce Allen Johnson to 15 years in state prison, to be followed by 35 years of probation. He pleaded guilty in May to raping four different girls, each younger than the age of consent and one of whom was 12 at the time.
Still to be reconciled are the witness-tampering charges filed after Johnson reportedly solicited someone to intimidate two of the girls so they wouldn't testify against him. According to charging documents, Johnson first sought someone to kill the two victims while he was in jail awaiting trial. He also pleaded guilty to these charges in May.
Johnson did not apologize in his address to the court Tuesday, but did say he takes responsibility for the acts. He said parental support and self-esteem books he had read while in jail had helped him see "the foundation for being a good person."
"I understand what I did wrong and I want to change," he said. "I've been drinking since I was a 14-year-old for my depression, now I want to never touch alcohol again. … I take full responsibility but I hope that you will give me the chance to prove to you and everyone that I can change."
He also requested access to medicinal marijuana to treat his attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Townsend did not issue a decision on the marijuana request.
Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend noted several points of consideration in her sentencing, including undescribed acts that victimized him when he was 12 or 13 years old, as well as the "moderate level of psychopathic features in your personality" uncovered by a psychotherapist prior to the sentencing hearing.
But, she told him, "you have shown little or no empathy for your victims."
Recent changes to sentencing guidelines allowed for a shorter prison term, Missoula Deputy County Attorney Jen Clark told Townsend, but only in two cases, in which he received a 20-year prison sentence with five years suspended. Because of the victims' ages in the other two cases and the terms of his plea agreement with prosecutors, Johnson was sentenced to 50 years in state prison with 35 years suspended.
The victims in this case had agreed to the terms of the plea agreement, defense attorney John Smith said during the hearing.
Townsend restricted Johnson's ability to seek parole until he completes Phases 1 and 2 of sex offender treatment while in prison. Upon his release he will be registered as a Tier 2 sex offender, considered moderate on a scale for possible reoffenders.
Sentencing on the tampering charges, which was delayed because of recently filed restitution claims, will follow a June 25 status conference in Missoula District Court.