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A Crow Agency man who admitted sexually abusing a child will spend more than eight years in federal prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Thursday sentenced Beaumont Paul Stewart, 43, to eight years and one month, which was the low end of a range that went up to about 10 years. Stewart had no criminal record, he said.

The sentencing almost didn’t happen when Stewart’s attorney, Paula Saye-Dooper, and a defense witness, Jackie Stewart, a social worker who said she was related to Stewart, indicated they thought Stewart had pleaded to protect his family and not because he committed the crime.

Under questioning by the judge, Stewart denied he pleaded guilty to protect his family and said he admitted the crime because he was, in fact, guilty. He said he wanted to proceed with sentencing.

In June, Stewart pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse for molesting a girl who was under the age of 12 in 2002 in Crow Agency.

Initially, Stewart admitted to molesting a girl who was under the age of 12 in 2010. Cebull allowed Stewart to withdraw that plea when two new evaluations of the victim were found after he pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors re-indicted Stewart charging him with two crimes against the original victim and two crimes against another victim. Stewart admitted to sexually abusing the second victim. Cebull dismissed the three other counts as part of a plea agreement.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.