A Bozeman woman pleaded guilty Thursday to molesting a 7-year-old boy in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.

Attorneys on both sides agreed to recommend the judge sentence Patricia Lynn Cook, 19, to 10 years in the Montana State Women's Prison and 20 years probation in exchange for her guilty plea in Gallatin County District Court. She was facing up to life in prison.

Cook remains in Gallatin County's jail on $50,000 bail.

She told police on Aug. 11 she began touching the boy inappropriately six years ago when he was 8 months old, according to court records. The touching began while changing his diaper and progressed from there.

She continued touching the boy and felt "a little bit sexually aroused," according to court records. She said the molesting continued for several years.

She also said she had been sexually abused as a young child.

Cook punched the boy in the stomach, spanked him and slapped him to keep him from telling anyone.

She told police the molestation stopped earlier this year when her counselor asked her not to be alone with children.

Cook was jailed after telling police she felt homicidal and suicidal. Police took her to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for an evaluation and later arrested her.

As part of her plea agreement, she will have to finish sex-offender treatment in prison before her release. The judge does not have to adhere to the plea agreement.

Cook will be sentenced March 7 in District Court.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.