A Flathead County man pleaded guilty by way of Alford to a single charge of sexual assault on Sept. 4.
Rodney Thomas Crowell was accused of assaulting a 5-year-old girl in September 2018. Crowell was initially charged with sexual intercourse without consent, but it was amended in a plea agreement. Crowell will be sentenced in November.
Attorneys crafted a binding plea agreement meaning Crowell will be able to withdraw his plea should the judge decide not to go along with it. The plea agreement calls for Crowell to receive a suspended sentence to the Montana State Prison. Crowell will also be designated as a sex offender.
An Alford plea occurs when a defendant maintains and asserts their innocence but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence that, if presented to a jury, could result in a conviction.