BUTTE — A former prison nurse who had sex with an inmate was sentenced to 25 years at the Montana Women's Prison.
Ten years were suspended in a sentence handed down in Anaconda district court this afternoon.
Tisha Ann Brunell, 45, faced a term of two to 100 years or life imprisonment for each of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
After a week-long trial in March, a jury found Brunell had sex with an inmate, who by law cannot consent to an authority figure, while serving as his nurse at the Sanction, Treatment, Assessment, Revocation and Transition, or START, program near Anaconda.
She also was found guilty of three felony charges of transferring of illegal items and 43 misdemeanor charges of unauthorized communication.
Brunell contended it was merely phone sex and nothing physical happened but a kiss. But, as evidenced by more than eight hours of recorded conversations, the two had intimate knowledge of each other’s bodies.
While out on bond on the sex charges, Brunell called several people in attempts to intimidate a witness set to testify. One of the calls to her then-husband included talk of using a gang at Montana State Prison to bully the witness.
After jurors found her guilty of the multitude of charges, Brunell changed her plea to guilty in April on a count of solicitation to tamper with a witness.