A judge sentenced a level 3 sex offender on Thursday to the Montana State Prison for following young girls at the Rimrock Mall.

Timothy Thomas Luplow, 56, appeared in Yellowstone County District Court and admitted he violated the conditions of his supervised release from prison.

Luplow was sentenced to 23 years prison and 17 years of supervised release in 1998 for sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was working alone at a Payless Shoesource store in the Heights on Sept. 23, 1997, according to a Gazette report.

The state’s petition to revoke Luplow’s sentence says he went, without authorities’ permission, to the Rimrock Mall, 300 S. 24th St W., on March 11, 15 and 22.

“He was reported to be following pre-teen and young teenage girls on those dates, following the children around the mall for ‘an extended period of time’ and engaging them in conversation,” the document states.

It goes on to say Luplow’s “adjustment to supervision had been abysmal” and that he engaged in “grooming” behavior by talking to the young girls.

“In light of this conduct, it is apparent the Defendant presents a huge risk to the community and cannot safely remain outside of a secure facility,” court records say.

Judge Randal Spaulding revoked the remaining time of Luplow’s suspended sentence, which a prosecutor said totals 12 years, six months and 26 days, and ordered Luplow to the state prison in Deer Lodge.

The victim in the 1997 assault later sued Payless after the company wouldn’t let her make a workers’ compensation claim. A jury awarded her $1.5 million in damages. The award was upheld by Montana Supreme Court.

Luplow pleaded guilty to assaulting the girl shortly before he was to go to trial in 1998, and in exchange prosecutors agreed to dismiss 17 other sex charges.

Prosecutors alleged that on the same day he assaulted the Payless employee, Luplow offered to pay multiple young girls for sex and then exposed himself when they refused.

After he was arrested on those charges, victims in sex crimes going back to 1996 identified Luplow as their attacker.

He was also convicted in 1996 of stalking a woman at a hotel in Sheridan, Wyo.


City news reporter for the Billings Gazette

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