Billings man charged with rape of teen

2013-07-24T16:05:00Z 2013-07-24T19:27:05Z Billings man charged with rape of teenGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

A Billings man accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl was charged Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court.

Daniel David Birns, 27, appeared by video from the county jail on two counts of felony sexual intercourse without consent. His bond was set at $10,000.

According to court records, the case began in January 2012 when a "safety team" at Facebook was alerted to Birns' account on the social networking website.

"This account surfaced as a suspected groomer based on the volume and skew of his outgoing correspondence with minors," according to charging documents.

Facebook employees found messages between Birns and the 15-year-old girl which "clearly indicated the two engaged in illicit sexual activity," the court records state.

The case was referred to Billings police. A detective interviewed the girl, who said she met Birns in the fall of 2011. She said Birns knew she was 15.

The girl said their relationship turned sexual a week or two after they met, and they used Facebook as their primary method of communication.

Charging documents allege Birns, who was 25 years old at the time, and the girl engaged in sexual activity between the fall of 2011 through January 2012.

The age of consent in Montana is 16.

Birns was ordered to appear Aug. 9 for arraignment in District Court.   

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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