A trial for a Yellowstone County man charged with child rape is underway.

Tristan James Morales, 22, faces felony charges of sexual intercourse without consent and tampering with witnesses. The case is being tried in front of District Court Judge Rod Souza.

Jury selection took place on Monday. On Tuesday, attorneys made opening statements and began calling witnesses. The trial is set to continue on Wednesday.

Morales is accused of raping an 8-year-old child, who was interviewed by investigators last year.

Law enforcement first received a report of the assault in April 2017. During a forensic interview, the 8-year-old recounted multiple assaults, according to court documents.

Morales admitted to a detective a previous assault, about five years ago, but he gave multiple excuses, charges state. He had also researched sex offender registration laws, according to the documents.

Morales is being held in the Yellowstone County Detention Center on $150,000 bond.



Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.