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Court rejects plea agreement in sexual assault case

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POLSON — Judge James A. Manley last week rejected a proposed plea agreement for a 26-year-old man charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.

Brandon Richmond Turner, 26, of Somers allegedly sexually assaulted two girls at a Bigfork- area cabin where he was staying temporarily in 2013.

According to a court document, Turner was more than four years older than the victims.

The charge wasn’t filed until Jan. 16, 2015 because the information didn’t come to light until one of the victims was confronted about signs of depression, according to a court filing by Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher.

Turner allegedly groped the girls, at least one who was under 16 at the time, and exposed himself to them, among other things. Both girls told him to stop, a court document states. Turner left the room when another female family member entered the room, according to the court document.

The plea agreement calls for Turner, who has served a number of years in the military, to receive deferred sentences of three years and six months and serve 30 days in jail. If he successfully completes the deferred sentences, the agreement calls for him to be released from a requirement to register as a sex offender. The agreement also stipulates that Turner may argue for a lesser sentence, including house arrest or community service.

On Dec. 7 Manley said he wasn’t legally allowed to accept the plea agreement because it didn’t contain enough of a reason for him to waive incarceration time below the mandatory minimum. Specifically, Manley wanted to know if a doctor was recommending treatment for Turner.

Defense attorney Britt Cotter said Turner has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after he hit his head in the Army while on a parachute jump. Turner said he suffers from a mental illness (PTSD) in a court document, but Manley noted that the mother of one of the victims called Turner’s injury nonsense (presumably as a justification for his actions).

Cotter said Turner served in Afghanistan. Cotter said he would file information about Turner’s military career along with more medical information. The case was continued to Jan. 11.

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