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A Kalispell man who was sentenced to prison for raping a woman in 2019 while she was drunk and unconscious has paid bail and was released from jail pending an appeal.

Less than a month after he was sentenced to six years in the Montana State Prison for felony sexual intercourse without consent, Shelby Ragner posted bail and was released from the Gallatin County jail last week.

Gallatin County District Judge Rienne McElyea issued a conditional release order Thursday that set Ragner’s bail at $10,000. McElyea’s order requires that Ragner stay in Montana, comply with laws and have no contact with the victim or witnesses in the case.

Alex Jacobi, Ragner’s attorney, said in court filings that Ragner intends to appeal the court’s sentence. No appeals for Ragner had been submitted to the Montana Supreme Court as of Tuesday, according to the court’s website.

Jacobi did not return requests for comment.

Prosecutor Bjorn Boyer said he opposed setting any bail for Ragner at a recent hearing to determine whether Ragner was a flight risk or posed a danger to the public. When pushed by the judge, he said, Boyer asked that Ragner’s bail be set at a minimum of $250,000.

In March 2019, a woman told police that Ragner sexually assaulted her after a night of drinking downtown with friends. The woman said she woke up on a couch to Ragner sexually assaulting her, court documents say. She then passed out.

An exam showed that the woman’s injuries were consistent with non-consensual sexual activity.

Police said in charging documents that Ragner maintained that the woman consented to the sexual activity. When a detective confronted him about witness reports that the woman was too drunk to stand on her own and was unconscious, Ragner was unable to explain how he had a conversation with her, court documents say.

A jury convicted Ragner of felony sexual intercourse in October.

A few days after he was sentenced in January, Ragner’s attorney Jacobi filed a motion to delay the sentencing and set bail conditions for him to be released until Ragner’s appeal can be heard.

Boyer objected to the motion and said an evaluation found that Ragner “expresses little insight, guilt or shame regarding his sexual abuse behaviors.” Boyer said that the evaluator declined to say whether Ragner, an “unreformed sex offender,” could be safely treated while out of jail.

Boyer said while he didn’t think Ragner was a flight risk before, he could be during the appeal process.

“Although the defendant was not previously a flight risk, the conditions have changed and the court can no longer make the finding that he is not likely to flee,” Bjorn said.

Last week, judge McElyea ordered that Ragner’s previous bail conditions be continued while his appeal is pending.

In her order allowing the delay of sentencing, McElyea said Ragner has been compliant with court orders, appeared at hearings and hasn’t tried contacting the victim or witnesses. McElyea said Ragner would live in Kalispell with his pregnant girlfriend, away from where the incident happened.

“The court finds the defendant is not likely to pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community pending appeal,” she said.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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