News and Press Releases

Ralph Vernon Turnsplenty Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 11, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, RALPH VERNON TURNSPLENTY, a 32-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. TURNSPLENTY was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 21 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

TURNSPLENTY was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to failure to register as a sexual offender.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On January 9, 2008, the U.S. Marshals Service received information that TURNSPLENTY, a prior convicted federal sexual offender, was believed to have failed to register or update his registration for his current home address in Billings.

TURNSPLENTY had been convicted of felony sexual abuse of a minor or ward in 1997 in the Billings Division of Federal District Court. TURNSPLENTY was originally sentenced to 18 months in custody, with supervised release to follow. His supervised release was later revoked several times and he was returned to prison.

TURNSPLENTY was required to register as a sexual offender as part of the judgment. TURNSPLENTY last filled out a sexual offender registration form showing that he was moving to Wyoming. However, he then returned to Montana without updating that registration information to indicate that he had returned to Montana and what his current address was.

A review of the Montana Sexual and Violent Offender Registry confirmed that TURNSPLENTY did not update his registration as required by law. It is currently showing him on inactive status and residing in Wyoming. The Registry confirmed that TURNSPLENTY is currently out of compliance with Montana's Sexual Offender Registry requirements and has been so since at least 2007.

TURNSPLENTY has been arrested several times over the last several years in Billings, and has had various residences in Billings, none of which he registered as his home address in the registry.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that TURNSPLENTY will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, TURNSPLENTY does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service.



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