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A Billings man who admitted to sexually molesting children was sentenced Monday to Montana State Prison.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh rejected a defense attorney's request that Adam Joseph Heitkemper be spared a prison term and instead receive treatment at a state mental hospital.

Baugh followed a recommendation from prosecutors, who asked that Heitkemper receive a total prison sentence of 15 years, with five years suspended, for two counts of sexual assault, one count of intimidation and a misdemeanor count of indecent liberties.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss other charges against Heitkemper in exchange for his admission to the three felonies and misdemeanor.

Heitkemper, 26, was charged with molesting children in 2004 and 2005 in three criminal cases. The intimidation charge alleged that Heitkemper threatened to shoot a young boy if he reported the abuse.

Public defender Matt Claus asked Baugh to consider sentencing Heitkemper to the state hospital because a mental evaluation shows he is moderately retarded and has a developmental disability.

Deputy County Attorney Juli Pierce argued that Heitkemper is an escape risk and has had numerous disciplinary and behavior problems while incarcerated at the county jail. She said Heitkemper can receive adequate treatment in prison.

Baugh designated Heitkemper a Level III sex offender, a designation that means he is considered a high risk to commit future sex offenses.

Heitkemper briefly apologized before he was sentenced.

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