A 22-year-old man was sentenced to the Department of Corrections Monday for raping a woman who was six months pregnant.

Tyrelle Thomas Peterson was sentenced to 15 years with the Department of Corrections, with 10 years suspended, and was designated a low-risk sex offender. 

The department took Peterson into custody Monday and will next assess him. It can place him in any setting from prison to community supervision. 

“Life was never supposed to be this hard for me,” said the victim, in a statement read by Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Molly Rose Fehringer. “The one thing I have done is make the best of the days I can get out of bed.”

The woman suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the rape. She said she hadn’t been able to forgive Peterson, who she said attempted to strangle her during the rape. 

“I’m trying every day, but I still can’t understand why,” she said.

The victim declined to attend Monday's hearing.

Two of Peterson's family members attended. 

Peterson had been in a black-out state of intoxication during the January 2018 rape and could not remember what he did. He’d been under the influence of meth, cocaine, marijuana and vodka, according to Judge Michael Moses, who called the rape “a horror story.”

Peterson made a short statement.

“I’d just like to apologize. I don’t remember. I don’t feel good about it,” he said, through tears. “I just need to get help. I’m sorry.”

The state and defense had jointly recommended 15 years at the Department of Corrections with 10 suspended. Fehringer, the prosecutor, said the sentence was in line with other cases involving a first-time sex offender who was relatively young, like Peterson.

Peterson’s attorney, Lance Lundvall, described him as soft-spoken, kind and gentle. Lundvall said Peterson had been subjected to abuse in the past, although he said it wasn’t an excuse for his client’s actions.

Peterson’s only criminal history is a drunken-driving incident in Colorado that he noted for investigators. Lundvall said he could not find record of a conviction and believed it might have reached only the investigation stage.

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