Former Montana undersheriff pleads guilty to sexual abuse

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A former eastern Montana undersheriff has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of children for soliciting sexually explicit images from a 17-year-old girl.

The Great Falls Tribune reported Luke Strommen entered his plea Tuesday in District Court in Great Falls. Prosecutors are recommending a 10-year suspended prison sentence when he is sentenced in January.

Strommen was placed on administrative leave from the Valley County Sheriff’s Office in June 2018 while officials investigated a report he’d had a yearlong relationship with a 17-year-old girl. She was old enough to consent to sex, but it is illegal to receive sexually explicit images of anyone younger than 18. He resigned in November 2018.

He faces a March trial for sexual intercourse without consent after a girl reported he raped her about 50 times from 2009 to 2011, starting when she was 14. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officials search for cougar blamed for killing livestock in northern Idaho

SPOKANE — Federal and state wildlife officials have started a search in northern Idaho for a cougar that killed livestock.

The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday that Idaho Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to locate the cougar and trap it.

Officials said the cougar was sighted northeast of Sandpoint and recently killed three alpacas, a miniature horse and a deer.

Officials said the cougar was seen dragging the dead horse from a barn Monday before it was scared away by gunshots.

Montana authorities arrest suspect in Laurel homicide

BILLINGS, Mont. — A 22-year-old man has been taken into custody by Montana authorities investigating the death of a Laurel woman.

Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said Diego T. Hernandez, of Laurel, was taken into custody at his residence Tuesday night.

Linder said the death of 57-year-old Lori Bray remained under investigation and no further information was released.

Bray was last seen leaving her workplace around 12:30 a.m. Oct. 1.

Her body was found in a wooded area outside of Laurel on Oct. 2 by a man riding his ATV. Linder said her body was found about 3 miles from where her abandoned car was found and authorities determined her death was a homicide.

Man gets 15 years for fatal drunken driving crash

COEUR D’ALENE — A northern Idaho man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing one person and injuring three others in a drunken driving crash in March.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reported 36-year-old Cory Allan Kreager was sentenced in 1st District Court on Monday. He must serve at least 10 years before he will be eligible for parole.

Idaho State Police said Kreager, of Priest River, was driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 95 when he failed to heed a stop sign. Police said Kreager’s Ford F-350 pickup collided with a Dodge Caravan, killing 38-year-old Ryan Allen of Cocolalla and injuring Vern, Patricia and Troy Allen.

According to court documents, Kreager told investigators he was distracted by his mobile phone and didn’t see the stop sign. Officials said testing showed his alcohol level was above the legal limit to drive.

Kreager pleaded guilty to the charges in July.

Montana man sentenced to 10 years for fatal hit-and-run

MISSOULA, Mont. — A Montana man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after fatally hitting a woman while driving.

The Missoulian reported Tuesday that 27-year-old Daniel Grady pleaded guilty in August to negligent homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Grady was also sentenced to 20 years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

Authorities said Grady was arrested in June 2018 after police found the body of 22-year-old Rebecca Romero in northwest Missoula.

Authorities said evidence found Grady drank at several bars before driving home with three others in his pickup truck.

Romero was recently graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in wildlife biology.

Man with 68 convictions gets chance at treatment

PORTLAND, Ore. — A homeless man who is one of Portland’s most frequently arrested people is getting a chance to get drug, alcohol and mental health treatment instead of prison time for convictions for threatening a woman and her minor son as they cowered in a locked car.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Brian Lankford was sentenced to three years of probation through the Multnomah County Justice Reinvestment Program, which also is geared to help him find stable housing.

Lankford has been arrested more than 220 times in the past decade and as of Monday convicted 68 times for crimes including misdemeanor theft, trespassing, harassment and other charges.

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