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CPS worker charged with rape

POLSON — A former local Children’s Protective Services employee has been charged with rape.

Chase Joseph Ripley, age unknown, was charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent for allegedly forcing a woman client to have sex with him.

According to a court document, Ripley went to the woman's home on Sept. 26 to have her sign paperwork regarding her children. Ripley was her caseworker and had control over placement and visitation of the woman's children. As of that date, the woman had supervised visitation with her children.

After having the woman sign paperwork, Ripley allegedly made a comment about the woman's anatomy and told her that he was going to show her his genitals. He then allegedly exposed himself and placed her hand on his genitals.

Ripley then allegedly gestured for the woman to lead him into a room and he removed his clothing along the way. He then allegedly removed her clothing without asking her, gave her a directive and they engaged in two sex acts. He then allegedly gave her another directive related to sex and she refused. Ripley then put his clothes back on and left.

The woman later identified distinguishing marks on two parts of Ripley's body, the document states. The woman said she feared Ripley because he had control over her children.

When initially interviewed by law enforcement, Ripley denied sex with the woman. Law enforcement then obtained a search warrant and identified the marks described by the woman, the document states.

During a second interview, Ripley admitted to having sex with the woman but said that she did not say "no" and said it was consensual, the document states. Ripley also said that he knew what he did was wrong and had broken trust with his clients.

After his arrest, Ripley was released on his own recognizance by Judge Kim Christopher, who signed the order "with serious reservation." She ordered Ripley to have no contact with the alleged victim and any of his former clients.

He appeared in Lake County District Court on Nov. 16 and pleaded not guilty before Judge John W. Larson of Missoula in a hearing held via VisionNet. A pre-trial conference was set for March 19 and a trial for April 27.

On Friday, a Montana Department of Health and Human Services human resources employee said Ripley no longer was employed by the state. 

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