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A man whose sexual misconduct escalated until he attempted to kidnap a 10-year-old girl last June was sentenced Tuesday in Missoula County District Court to the Department of Corrections for 10 years – eight of which were suspended. 

Coty James Low appeared before District Judge Karen Townsend, who handed down the sentence and ordered him to register as a tier 2 sexual offender upon his release.

Low has remained in the Missoula County jail since June 21, when he preyed upon a little girl who was playing near the California Street footbridge.

While the girl was playing in the grass with her 6-year-old brother, Low allegedly picked her up by the leg and dropped her about 25 feet away.

The girl notified her parents, who were sitting just north of the footbridge, and the mother saw the man running away from them. The girl’s father ran after Low and confronted him, but he allegedly attempted to run away again.

The father then physically restrained Low to prevent him from running away until Missoula police arrived.

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Low told police that he was actually saving the little girl from a brindle-colored boxer that barked twice loudly and was running toward the victim, but he was unable to explain why he would run away from the girl’s father if he was actually trying to protect her.

While giving a statement later, Low told police that he was looking for companionship and wasn’t thinking when he attempted to abduct the girl. He then repeated his statement from earlier, claiming that he was actually protecting the girl from the dog.

During his initial appearance in June, Missoula County prosecutors said the incident was the latest in a series of sexual attacks that included groping a nurse and exposing himself to a mission group. 

Prior to his sentencing, Low entered an Alford plea to one felony count of attempted kidnapping.

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