Judge sentences child rapist to 25 years in prison

June 25 – Convicted child rapist Ray Allen Roberts maintained his innocence even when Judge Robert Allison sentenced him to 25 years behind bars on June 22.

“I’m still in shock,” Roberts, 53, told Allison during her sentencing in Flathead County District Court. “I can’t believe this is even happening to me.”

Prosecutors alleged in court papers that Roberts sexually assaulted a toddler in June 2021. The child came forward later that year, telling his mother and grandmother that Roberts had put his genitals in his mouth, according to court documents.

She gave a similar account during a forensic interview with Child Advocacy Center staff, according to court documents.

Roberts pleaded guilty to the felony felony sexual intercourse without consent by way of an Alford plea in December 2022. In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence while acknowledging that a jury would likely find him guilty.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to recommend that he be sentenced to 45 years in Montana state prison with a 20-year suspended sentence and a requirement to undergo sex offender treatment before he could be granted parole. .

In court last week, Roberts blamed his former lawyer for trapping him in the plea deal and said the lawyer used his learning disability against him. Noting that an Alford plea, for practical purposes, was tantamount to a jury finding Roberts guilty, Allison told the 53-year-old that, from a judge’s perspective, his legal team got a deal. favorable.

“If there was ever a plea deal I would pitch, this is it,” Allison said of the deal.

Roberts’ defense attorney, Liam Gallagher, asked the court to consider five years with the state Department of Corrections with 15 others suspended. This would buy Roberts time to undergo sex offender treatment and hold him accountable for any missteps, he argued.

The prosecution’s recommended sentence, Gallagher said, “comes very close to a life sentence” given Roberts’ age.

“In fact, I think you should probably spend the rest of your life behind bars,” Allison later told Roberts, dismissing Gallagher’s proposal as out of the question. “I would like to give you 100 years.”

ILLYSSA THOMPSON, the mother of Roberts’ victim, told the court the child had struggled with anger and other behavioral issues since his rape.

“She’s not the same kid anymore,” Thompson said, showing a photo of the girl. “She doesn’t have the carefree life she deserves.”

Thompson also pointed to Roberts’ long criminal history while asking Allison to hold him accountable for his actions. The 53-year-old received a 15-year suspended prison sentence for sexual assault in 1999, according to documents filed in district court. Over the next few years, he twice failed to follow court-ordered sex offender advice, according to court documents.

“She is one of many victims of abuse by Ray Roberts over the past decades,” Thompson said. “It’s not just her who was hurt. She’s not the only voice that deserves to be heard.”

It’s long overdue for Roberts to face consequences, she said while testifying that her supporters urged her not to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors. They blame her, she says, for Roberts’ future stay in prison.

Thompson also sought $12,168 in restitution to account for time spent at work while she dealt with legal proceedings and cared for her daughter.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive you,” she said, turning slightly to face Roberts from the witness box. “I can’t forget the pain and suffering you caused my daughter.”

Although Gallagher argued for a reduced restitution figure, Allison stuck to Thompson’s request. He also awarded Roberts 478 days of service before returning him to sheriff’s custody.

Managing Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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