Barry Beach

Barry Beach talks to reporters on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana. Beach was released in November, his sentence commuted by Gov. Steve Bullock after serving a three decades of a 100-year sentence for the 1979 beating death of high-school classmate Kim Nees.

Convicted murderer Barry Beach is under investigation in Billings after a criminal complaint was filed in January alleging that Beach asked a female — whose age is unknown — to perform sexual acts, the Chronicle has learned.

According to an investigative report obtained Friday through the newspaper’s public records request, a complainant reported to the Billings Police Department that Beach picked up the female, who was walking on King Avenue West in Billings, and drove her to his residence where he asked, “Can I touch you?”

The female said no, and no again when Beach allegedly asked her if she wanted to touch him. According to the complaint, Beach then went inside his house and then came back out to the vehicle. He then drove to a parking lot where Beach asked, “Do you like to suck guy’s (expletive)?” She replied, “I don’t know.”

Beach then asked the female if she would like to “see some guns” before taking off his shirt and flexing his muscles, according to the investigative report. Beach then dropped her off at a house where the complainant said the female appeared scared. The complainant then received a message from Beach, saying that he gave the female a ride home.

Beach had previously served more than three decades in prison for the 1979 murder of 17-year-old Kim Nees in Poplar. Beach maintained his innocence, and said his murder confession was coerced.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock signed an executive order for Beach’s release last November, freeing him for time served.

The alleged victim’s age in this case is unclear. Information about the victim was redacted from the documents released by the Billings City Attorney’s Office on Friday.

Beach, 54, could not be reached on his cellphone Friday evening. In an earlier conversation, before the Chronicle had received the police report, Beach told the Chronicle he had no comment.

“I have no comment at all,” Beach told the newspaper on June 13. “It was a misunderstanding is all that had to be cleared up.... It was a simple misunderstanding between me and my (probation officer).”

The Billings police investigation has been forwarded to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office for review on whether criminal charges should be filed against Beach, according to Billings City Attorney Brent Brooks, who had District Judge Gregory Todd approve releasing the redacted police report.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito would neither confirm nor deny that the police investigation had been forwarded to him.

“In any situation, we’re very thorough,” the prosecutor told the Chronicle earlier this month. Asked if charges would be filed, Twito said, “Sometimes, these things take time. In any case we have to be thorough.”

In separate telephone calls, two Yellowstone County Clerk of District Court employees acknowledged that a search warrant bearing Beach’s name, issued earlier this year, had been filed with the court. The warrant, though, remains sealed.

Billings Police Chief Rich St. John previously told the Chronicle that he had no knowledge of an investigation into Beach and that he would call back after checking with others in his department. He has not responded to additional telephone calls or an email.

At the time of Beach’s release, the campaign to release him had many supporters, including Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns.

But it was Bullock who signed the executive order necessary for Beach’s release last November. The order did not pardon Beach, but commuted his sentence to time served and placed him on probation for 10 years. The order cited Beach’s age at the time of the crime and his good behavior while in prison.

Attempts to reach a spokesman for Bullock’s office were unsuccessful Friday evening.

A spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections said that Beach is receiving at least three personal contacts by probation officers every month, and that no probation officers had been involved in the execution of a search warrant in Billings.

When pressed on probation officers discussing Beach’s activities with the Billings Police Department earlier this year, MDC Communications Director Judy Beck said, “I’m just not going to go there.”

Troy Carter can be reached at 582-2630 or tcarter@dailychronicle.com. He’s on Twitter at @cartertroy.

Troy Carter covers politics and county government for the Chronicle.

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