A Billings judge on Tuesday sentenced a 49-year-old man who previously pleaded guilty to committing a sexual offense against an underage girl.
District Judge Russell C. Fagg followed a prosecutor’s recommendation and sentenced Cory Dale Smith to 20 years with the state department of corrections, with 15 years suspended, for one count of felony sexual assault.
“While he takes full responsibility for his actions, he lays part of the blame on the victim, which is concerning to the state,” said Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Ingrid Rosenquist.
Fagg designated Smith a level 1 sex offender, meaning he is considered to be at a low risk of reoffending, and ordered him to complete sexual offender treatment. The judge also followed the recommendations of Smith’s plea agreement and dismissed a felony count of sexual intercourse without consent and a second sexual assault charge.
Smith’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Clark Mathews, asked for a sentence of 15 years to the department of corrections, with 10 years suspended.
“I’m optimistic about Cory’s future and I think he’ll get through this without any problems,” Mathews said, adding that Smith admitted the offense to his wife and pleaded guilty to the charge.
Before receiving the sentence, Smith apologized to the victim, her family, his family and the community.
“What I did wasn’t right,” Smith said. “I don’t condone what I did, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
In January, he admitted to having sexual contact with an underage girl in 2012. The girl, who was born in 1997 according to court records, reported the sexual contact to a school resource office in January 2013.
Smith turned and flashed a peace sign at two people seated in the courtroom gallery as he was taken into custody.