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martedì 25 aprile 2017

Man convicted of drugging, raping teen girls

A Missoula County District Court jury has convicted a 47-year-old Missoula man of drugging and sexually assaulting girls as young as 12.

Finding Erik Nugent guilty, Deputy County Attorney Ryan Mickelson said in his closing statement, would allow the girls to be “given back in just a small way what has been taken from them.”
Jurors convicted Nugent guilty of six counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and four of sexual abuse of children. He has been in the Missoula County jail since he was arrested in September.
Nine girls – some of whom testified at trial – told a detective that Nugent gave them drugs, including methamphetamine, LSD, marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to court documents. One girl said she saw nude photos of one of the other teens on Nugent’s computer, and another said Nugent showed her a topless photo of another underage girl and video of him molesting her.
In his closing statement, Mickelson said a therapist contacted police after Nugent spoke of his interest in one girl and told the therapist he'd molested some of the others. Coworkers also reported Nugent to the police after he made repeated sexual comments about children, according to court documents.
Nugent didn't react as the verdict was read after just over two hours of deliberation, although he and his attorney asked that jurors be polled individually, with each having to verbally agree they had decided on guilty on each of the charges. 
He will be sentenced by District Court Judge Karen Townsend on July 11. 
Mickelson told jurors that the nine girls involved in the case ranged from 12 to 17 years old during their interactions with Nugent, who was 46 at the time. Some did not testify at trial, with Mickelson adding that those who did had to “publicly relive and relay their tragic experiences.”
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Included in the charges is that Nugent raped two of the girls, then 14, while they were drunk or high on drugs he'd given them.
“There has been absolutely nothing to refute the charges against the defendant,” he said.
Chris Daly, Nugent’s public defense attorney, had reminded the jury that the prosecution had the obligation to prove his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He said some of the girls didn’t testify at trial, and that the information about what happened to them was anecdotal.
Furthermore, he said the testimony from the girls who did take the stand stemmed from memories of times when they were admittedly under the influence of drugs. They might have “hallucinated” the occurrences, he said.
Mickelson responded by saying there was no way several girls would have been able to hallucinate the same version of events.
Daly said one of the girls stopped seeing Nugent because her boyfriend was upset about the relationship. Daly told jurors they should “take that into account” when determining if the girl gave honest answers about what happened to her.
He also said there was no evidence that Nugent sold the girls the drugs, required sexual acts in exchange for them, or even handed them the drugs. The evidence showed only that the girls attended gatherings hosted by Nugent where there were drugs. 
But Mickelson said that even if Nugent gave away the drugs, that was still illegal.

Missoula man convicted of drugging, raping teen girls 
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