Subscribe for 17¢ / day

The names of three Billings police officers who were disciplined earlier this year for having sex while on duty or on city property were released Tuesday when District Judge Donald Harris signed an order dissolving a seal on the court file, and after the officers voluntarily released their own names.

On Tuesday morning, through a Billings radio show, Paul LaMantia was identified as the officer who had sex at City Hall while off duty.

Two other officers, Matthew Edwards and Clint Anglin, later released their names through their attorneys. In part because of that, Harris dissolved the seal and lifted a 48-hour stay on the release of the names that was set to expire at noon Wednesday. 

A statement by the Scheveck and Salminen Law Firm was first sent to KULR-TV and the Big J Radio Show, with letters from the two officers who had sex with a city employee while on duty. The radio station also released typewritten statements by Anglin and Edwards via Facebook. 

Originally, the attorneys declined to release the statements or confirm the names to The Gazette and KTVQ because they said they were unhappy with the court coverage of the case.

"We're not too happy with the Billings Gazette after they made us look pretty stupid in a story," Salminen said. He declined to elaborate.

The Gazette and KTVQ later confirmed the names after the information was made public through court filings. 

Each of the three officers had sex with a city employee in separate incidents between 2013 and 2016, either while they were on the job or at City Hall. The conduct was discovered during an unrelated investigation into drug thefts from the police evidence locker. When confronted by a supervisor early in 2018, the officers admitted they had sex with evidence technician Rawlyn Strizich, who was fired after she confessed to stealing oxycodone pills and other prescription painkillers, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said in April.

On Monday, Harris had ruled that the names of the police officers should be released, but ordered a stay on the release for 48 hours, at the request of Scheveck and Salminen to allow them time to appeal.

Anglin's affadavit states that he and Strizich began a sexual relationship in 2013 and had sex in a locked Billings City Hall storage room in spring 2013 and engaged in sexual activity again in the same place in October 2014.

Anglin was given 80 hours of administrative leave without pay in April 2018, according to his affidavit. The affidavit states Anglin found out in February 2018 "four years after the last sexual interaction" with Strizich, that she had told investigators looking into her thefts from the evidence facility that she had sex with "two other officers while on duty."

Edwards' affidavit states that he and Strizich had sex while he was on duty in March 2016. Strizich was with him for a ride-along and "became flirtatious," according to the affidavit, which states they had sex outside of the vehicle behind a school. 

St. John had previously described that incident as having occurred in a private parking lot. After his name surfaced in January 2018 during the investigation into Strizich's thefts, Edwards was given two weeks of unpaid leave.

He said that he had sex with Strizich off duty on other occasions, according to the affidavit. 

LaMantia's affidavit states that he was sexually involved with Strizich in the summer of 2016. They had sex in the basement of the records room of the Billings Police Department once, according to the affidavit. LaMantia was off duty and was at the department checking his mail, according to the affidavit.

LaMantia has already served his one-week suspension without pay, the affidavit states. In addition to concerns about how publicizing his name could hurt his reputation, career and family, LaMantia's affidavit also cites the potential negative effect it could have on his business Blue Line BBQ LLC. 

LaMantia originally disclosed his name Tuesday in a statement read by Billings radio personality Jason Harris during Harris' morning broadcast.

In his statement, LaMantia apologized for his "impulsive, ill-advised actions" in 2016 and said he had chosen to resign from the police department.

"I have decided it is best for my family to issue my resignation from law enforcement," the statement read.

The statements from all three officers emphasized that they had sought to conceal their names from the public not to protect themselves but to shield their families and those around them from undue embarrassment.

"I did not make contact with a lawyer in an attempt to hide from my mistakes, but rather to protect my family, extended family and especially my wife and children," Anglin's letter states. "It was my hope of shielding my family from becoming a topic of public debate."

The officers' attorneys had previously argued in court that their clients' future employment opportunities and reputations in the community would be damaged if their names were released.

"To my co-workers in the Billings Police Department, I sincerely apologize," Edwards' letter stated. "I did not realize that my actions would stretch and bleed into your lives. It was never my intention for this to affect anyone besides myself. It was a selfish act and I will own it."

LaMantia, Edwards and Anglin were granted a temporary restraining order April 23 to stop the city from releasing their names after The Gazette requested them, among other materials related to the incidents. St. John had previously said he planned to identify the three officers.

In court filings and oral arguments, attorneys for the three officers have contended that the sexual encounters were not criminal and were not violations of their official duties. Both St. John and the attorneys for the two on-duty officers have stated that the disciplined cops did not miss any calls for service as a result of the incidents.

39
123
42
83
98

Morning Reporter

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.