A former high school science teacher in Miles City has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl in 2016 and 2017.
Morgan Pett, 38, pleaded guilty in Custer County District Court in December to six counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count each of sexual abuse of children and solicitation of tampering with physical evidence. All eight convictions are felonies.
The victim told police that she had begun a relationship with Pett in October 2016, according to court documents, and that the two had sexual encounters six times during a three-week period from late 2016 through early 2017.
The age of consent in Montana is 16 years.
Pett was ultimately caught by his wife, who later told police about the relationship, court documents state.
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Investigators later obtained DNA evidence from the victim's vehicle that was a positive match with a DNA sample obtained from Pett.
Court documents state the girl was a student at Custer County District High School at the time. Miles City Public Schools Superintendent Keith Campbell said in a statement last year that Pett worked for the school district from 2008 until the first weekend of 2017 when he was placed on administrative leave, after administrators were notified of the allegations. He resigned Jan. 9, 2017, Campbell stated.
District Judge Michael Hayworth sentenced Pett on Jan. 24 to a total of 25 years with the Montana Department of Corrections, with 15 years suspended, for each of the six counts of rape. He was also sentenced to 10 years for sexual abuse of children and five years for solicitation of tampering with physical evidence.
All eight terms of imprisonment will run concurrently.
Pett was fined $25,000, and was designated a level 1 sex offender on the recommendation of a psychosexual evaluation completed prior to sentencing.