A judge has vacated the plea agreement that proposed giving a Polebridge man a 15-year prison sentence with all time suspended, meaning no prison time unless he violated his probation.
Theodore “Ted” Ramon originally faced three counts of felony sexual abuse of children, and the plea agreement dropped two of those counts in exchange for his June 27 plea of no contest to one charge.
However, according to Travis Ahner, the prosecuting attorney for the Flathead County Attorney’s office, the judge vacated the plea agreement on a legal technicality.
“There’s a statute that prohibits an individual from pleading no contest to certain offenses,” Ahner said in an interview with the Beacon. “And this is one of those offenses.”
That means the case is back to square one, Ahner said. He said he was unsure what direction the prosecution would take the case from this point as far as another plea agreement is concerned, and there is a status hearing scheduled for Sept. 4 to determine if another deal is in the works or if the case should go to trial.
Ahner said he could not comment on the original plea agreement while the case is still pending.
A local group of residents have been protesting the original plea agreement for several weeks, saying it went too easy on Ramon and didn’t do enough to protect the victim.
Ramon was charged with felony sexual abuse of children in 2011 after a 10-year-old girl’s mother called authorities with reports that her daughter had been abused.
Court records state that the girl told detectives she visited Ramon’s “print studio,” where she saw pornographic material. The child told investigators that Ramon took pictures of her in sexual poses, and that there had been inappropriate touching, according to prosecutors.
She also told detectives that Ramon had offered her cigars, drugs and alcohol, according to court filings.
The occurrences between the girl and Ramon happened over a course of two years, she said. She was between the ages of 8 and 10 years old at the time, and Ramon was between 51 and 53 years old.
The group protesting the plea deal did so because they believed it was time to shine light on such abuse cases and their prevalence in Flathead County; they picked the Ramon case because it is ongoing.
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