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A Yellowstone County man who admitted sexually molesting a young girl over several years was sentenced to prison Friday at an emotional hearing where two other victims described the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse.

Darell Steven Bohl, 53, was sentenced by District Judge Nels Swandal to 30 years in prison, with 20 years suspended, for a felony sex offense.

Swandal followed a plea agreement in the case that called for Bohl to serve the entire 10-year Montana State Prison term with no opportunity for parole.

Swandal also ordered Bohl to pay restitution of $15,600, an amount calculated to help the victim pay the expense of weekly counseling sessions for the next three years.

Bohl was initially charged in June 2011 with two felony sex offenses after an investigation by the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office. In court records, prosecutors said four women alleged they had been sexually abused by Bohl when they were children.

Bohl has been free on a $200,000 bond he posted shortly after his arraignment.

In July, Bohl struck a plea agreement that called for the dismissal of one of the charges in exchange for his admission to the other charge. Bohl pleaded guilty, admitting to sexually abusing the girl between March 1996 and December 2001. The girl was 9 years old when the abuse began.

Swandal, a state judge in Park County, presided over the case and the Attorney General's Office prosecuted Bohl because of a conflict within law enforcement in Yellowstone County. The nature of the conflict has not been disclosed. 

The sentencing of Bohl on Friday followed emotional testimony from two women who said they were also child victims of Bohl. Bohl was not charged with offenses against the women because the statute of limitations had expired, said Assistant Attorney General Daniel Guzynski.

Both women, who are now in their 30s and 40s, said they struggled for many years after they were sexually abused by Bohl. They thanked the latest victim, who is now 25 years old, for having the courage and strength to report the abuse.

"I was 14 years old when my innocence was stolen forever," one woman said. "If it were up to me, he would spend the rest of my life in jail."

The most recent victim attended the hearing but did not make a statement. 

Bohl made a brief statement, and at the suggestion of the judge turned toward the courtroom audience as he spoke. About 20 people attended the hearing.

Bohl apologized, saying he takes responsibility for creating "a lot of pain for all of you." He asked that someday he be forgiven.

Bohl's attorney, Sandy Selvey, said Bohl has "extreme remorse," and he has participated in a sex offender treatment program.

Swandal also acknowledged the courage of the most recent victim, saying Bohl likely would have continued to molest children had she not stepped forward.

"I've had cases where people like you have offended into their 80s," the judge said.



State courts reporter for the Billings Gazette.