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A 20-year-old man was sentenced to the Department of Corrections Thursday in a rape case.

Lonnie Bruce Shield Jr., was sentenced to the DOC for 15 years, with 12 suspended, in Yellowstone County District Court for a single count of sexual intercourse without consent. He was declared a low-risk sexual offender and will be required to complete sex offender treatment.

A DOC sentence allows for a defendant to serve their term in a pre-release facility, among other options. 

When he was 19, Shield had sex with a 14-year-old who had originally told him she was 16, according to Judge Michael Moses, who sentenced him. Shield continued to have sex with the girl after learning she was younger than 16, which is the age of consent.

Shield was given an exception to the four-year mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration for the crime. An exception is allowed under Montana law when a qualified sexual offender evaluator determines that treatment affords a better opportunity for rehabilitation of the defendant and protection for the victim and society.

Prosecutors and defense had jointly recommended the sentence and the victim’s mother did not oppose it, according to Chris Morris, of the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.

“One of the big things for her was that he will have to register as a sex offender,” Morris said.

Shield spoke briefly.

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“I’d like to say I’m sorry for my actions," he said. “I’d just like to be forgiven.”

Moses told Shield the victim would continue to be affected by the case.

“This is a lifelong issue that (she) is going to need to address,” the judge said.

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Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.