Rutledge Pleads Guilty To Incest Charges
As part of a plea agreement, Richard Lamar Rutledge made guilty pleas to two counts of incest during a hearing in district court on Monday, July 18.
A pre-sentencing hearing has been ordered by District Judge David Cybulski. Penalties are not less than four years or more than 100 years in the state prison, a $50,000 fine or both.
The charges read that between Oct. 15, 2018, and Jan. 9, 2019, Rutledge committed the crimes of incest, a felony.
According to court documents, Rutledge had sexual contact with his stepdaughters while they were under the age of 16 years of age. The offenses occurred in Roosevelt County. The defendant was more than three years older than the victims.
The often delayed trial for Richard Rutledge was scheduled to begin on Monday, July 18, in the district courtroom in Wolf Point until a plea agreement was agreed upon. Rutledge was facing the charges of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of incest. He has been in the county jail awaiting trial for more than three and a half years.
A long list of witnesses was submitted by the State for the trial. Selene Koepke and Meghann F. Paddock, assistant attorneys general and special deputy county attorneys for Roosevelt County, were prosecuting the case.
Defending Rutledge were attorneys Amanda Gordon and Jay Reno.
In March 2021, the trial was postponed from March to July, 2021. During a hearing in July of 2021, District Judge David J. Cybulski ruled that he wasn’t going to send Rutledge to the state hospital, but he encouraged the defense to pay to have Rutledge evaluated in Roosevelt County. The case was then given to the Montana Attorney General’s office. Dan Guzynski of the Montana Attorney General’s office said in late August 2021 that he won’t oppose Rutledge being evaluated at the state hospital.
During a sentencing hearing on Oct. 27, 2021, attorneys agreed to have Rutledge taken to the state hospital for a full mental evaluation starting on Nov. 10. Judge Cybulski urged the parties to move steadily forward since Rutledge has been in the county jail since January 2019. The judge said public defenders have made requests for continuances about 11 times.
“It has reached the point that I consider insanity,” Cybulski said.
Dan Guzynski of the Montana Attorney General’s office said that having Rutledge determined to be fit to proceed with speed up the process.
A trial was tentatively set for March 2022. Because of the amount of discovery and that the defense just recently added a co-counselor, the trial was moved to the week of July 18, 2022, during