During a video conference from the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, a Three Forks man pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled man in a city park in 2012.

Reynold Edward Benusa, 78, admitted to felony sexual intercourse without consent.

“I knew it was wrong,” Benusa told Gallatin County District Court Judge Holly Brown. “I didn't mean to do it. I was overcome with lust and I just did it.”

Benusa, who had been in the Gallatin County jail on $50,000 bail, was transferred to the Montana State Hospital in December. He will remain there until his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 13.

According to charging documents:

On June 11, 2012, a developmentally disabled man reported to a Gallatin County sheriff's deputy that he was sexually assaulted in Three Forks.

The man told police he was standing on the edge of a city park taking pictures when he was approached by Benusa, who asked the man for directions to a café.

The man gave Benusa directions. Benusa drove down the street but returned shortly and parked next to the man. Benusa then approached the man on foot and touched him inappropriately.

The man told investigators he tried to get the attention of children playing nearby by waving his hands, but he was too scared to say anything or to fight back.

After the incident, the man went to a friend's house and reported the assault to law enforcement.

The next day, the man again reported that Benusa had solicited him for sex. Officers located Benusa and took him into custody. In interviews with investigators, Benusa admitted to sexually assaulting the man, saying that he “had a sexual urge and acted upon it.”

Benusa could face a maximum of life in prison. However, defense attorney Andy Breuner said he would be asking Brown to consider mental disease and a sentence of supervision under the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her at @wabermes.

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  • Cops and courts reporter Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.

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