GREAT FALLS — A Montana man who lied about serving in the military to have his burglary and theft case assigned to a Veterans Treatment Court has been found in contempt of court and sentenced to community service with a veterans’ service organization.
District Judge Greg Pinski fined Ryan Patrick Morris of Great Falls $500 on Wednesday and gave him a year to complete 441 hours of community service — one hour for each Montana veteran killed in the line of duty since the Korean War.
Morris also must tell the organization the reason for his sentence, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Morris was charged with stealing a television in April. During his first court appearance in May he said he was a military veteran.
A day after Pinski told Morris to meet with the Veterans Court coordinator about admission to the program, Morris was accused of violating the conditions of his bail by carrying a firearm and drinking alcohol.
In a September hearing over the alleged violation, Morris said he had done seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had a hip replacement after being injured by an improvised explosive device. He said he was on the outreach team helping Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelley with his effort to end veteran homelessness.
Morris, however, refused to sign a release for the court to obtain an official service record. In October, Morris’ father contacted the Veterans Court coordinator and said his son had never severed in the military.
Pinski told Morris that the disrespect he showed the court “pales in comparison” to the disrespect he showed Montana veterans.
“I’d like to offer my deepest apology to any veterans out there that I’ve disrespected,” Morris said.
Morris remains jailed with his bail set at $20,000. The initial burglary and theft case is still pending.
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