Mark Lee Hutchison

Mark Lee Hutchison

A Butte man pleaded guilty to charges this week that accuse him of touching a girl “in a sexual manner” multiple times from 2009 to 2013.

Mark Lee Hutchison, 47, pleaded guilty to felony criminal endangerment in Gallatin County District Court before Judge Holly Brown on Tuesday.

In November 2018, Hutchison was charged with felony sexual intercourse without consent. The charge could have carried up to a $50,000 fine and up to 100 years in jail.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the charge to felony criminal endangerment. The new charge carries up to a $50,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.

Prosecutors will recommend that Hutchison be committed to the Montana Department of Corrections for five years at his sentencing in December. Upon his release, Hutchison will be required to register as a sex offender.

Butte police officers started an investigation into the man in 2014 after he admitted to molesting the girl, according to charging documents. The documents say Butte officers closed the investigation three years later because the incidents happened in Bozeman.

Bozeman police began investigating in July 2017. The girl told a Bozeman detective that Hutchison sexually assaulted her multiple times from 2009 to 2013, according to charging documents. The girl said that Hutchison would get her black-out drunk with vodka and lemonade.

The girl told officers that Hutchison threatened to kill her if she told anyone about their encounters, charging documents allege.

In August 2017, a detective found a phone call Hutchison made from the Gallatin County jail to the girl’s mother in 2014. Police said in charging documents that Hutchison on the phone call admitted to “heavy petting” but denied sexually assaulting the girl.

When speaking to Bozeman detectives, Hutchison denied sexually assaulting the girl and said anything that happened was on a taped confession with Butte officers from 2014, according to charging documents.

In October, the girl revealed more details about Hutchison, including that Hutchison made her drink bleach and eat soap, according to charging documents. She told detectives that Hutchison also choked her.

In 2014, Hutchison was convicted of assault on a minor in Gallatin County District Court, according to the Montana Department of Corrections. He was sentenced to a five-year commitment to the corrections department, with all of that time suspended.

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