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A 21-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday in District Court for having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

Cletus Lyle Keiser, 21, was sentenced by Judge Susan Watters to 15 years with the state Department of Corrections with 10 years suspended for felony sexual assault.

The judge said Keiser will start serving the sentence at a pre-release center where he will be required to participate in sex offender, mental health and chemical dependency treatment programs. Keiser will eventually be moved into state intensive supervised probation, the judge said, and he will be required to register as a Level II sex offender, the middle risk designation in the state’s three-tier registration system.

Keiser was charged in April based on allegations that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with the girl between April and June 2008. An investigation began when a school counselor reported her concerns that the girl was planning to run away from home. Court records state the girl had run away before and had been seen around Billings with Keiser.

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The girl later told a sheriff’s deputy that she had been having a sexual relationship with Keiser, who was 20 at the time.

Keiser pleaded guilty to the felony charge in August. He has remained in the county jail since his arrest.       

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