News and Press Releases

Lawrence John Sheehan Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on June 17, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, LAWRENCE JOHN SHEEHAN, a 62-year-old resident of Kalispell, pled guilty to transportation of a minor. Sentencing is set for October 15, 2009. He is currently detained.

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

In October of 2007, a female individual identified here as "B" reported to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office that she had been repeatedly sexually abused for years by her stepfather, SHEEHAN.

B" detailed sexual abuse that began in 2000 when she was 12 in New Mexico and continued through travels and moves to Arizona, Idaho, and back into Montana. Her mother married SHEEHAN in 1999 and the family lived in Montana. They moved to New Mexico in 2000 when the sexual abuse began. Her mother knew about the sexual abuse, as it often occurred while the three were in bed together. "B" was never allowed to attend school and was never home schooled either. The family lived a transient lifestyle, often staying in campgrounds or tents for short periods of time.

SHEEHAN was arrested and sent to prison for an old parole violation warrant in 2001 in Arizona, and "B's" mother continued her relationship with him during his incarceration and after his release.

One of the purposes of the travel was for SHEEHAN to engage in sexual activity with "B" undetected. He transported her in interstate commerce during their travels in Montana as well. "B" became pregnant at age 15 when the family was in Montana and had SHEEHAN'S child on November 23, 2003. While SHEEHAN continued to deny paternity, DNA tests proved otherwise. SHEEHAN continued his sexual abuse of "B" even after the birth of their child, and the activity only stopped when "B" and her mother finally left SHEEHAN shortly before reporting the incident.

SHEEHAN faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 30 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

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

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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