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Evaluation required before sentencing

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A man from both Polson and Hot Springs entered an Alford plea at District Court in Polson on Oct. 28 to felony indecent exposure to a minor. 

Jonathon Dell Tifft, 29, told the court that he was suffering from a mental health problem when he exposed himself to several girls who were on a parade float during Polson High School’s homecoming parade on Sept. 27, 2019.

Several of the girls were too uncomfortable to provide a statement. Of the seven victims who did provide a statement, six were 14 years of age and one was 15.

In an Alford plea, a defendant concedes that the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction if the case were to be presented to a jury at trial. The plea was entered as part of a plea agreement that calls for Tifft to be committed to either the Department of Public Health and Human Services program for six years or with the Montana Department of Corrections for six years with two years suspended. His placement will depend on the outcome of mental health evaluation. 

Judge James Manley tentatively set sentencing for Jan. 27, 2021, or sooner if the evaluation is completed before then.

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