News and Press Releases

William Richard Nielsen Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on July 19, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, WILLIAM RICHARD NIELSEN, a 24-year-old resident of Missoula, appeared for sentencing. NIELSEN was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 480 months

Special Assessment: $100

Restitution: $7,305

Supervised Release: life

NIELSEN was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to coercion and enticement of a minor.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

NIELSEN spoke to a 12-year-old girl via Livelinks live chat line. The girl resided outside of the state of Montana and NIELSEN resided in Missoula. At first, NIELSEN believed the girl was 18-years-old. But, during the phone conversations, the girl disclosed that she was only 12-years-old.

NIELSEN and the girl exchanged phone numbers and began sexting and having phone sex. NIELSEN asked the girl to come to Montana, promising her drugs. The girl did not know how to get to Missoula. NIELSEN instructed her to take the bus, then called the bus station and provided her with bus schedule information.

On January 4, 2011, the girl stole money from her mother's wallet, bought a bus ticket (in NIELSEN's last name so she would not be identified as a minor), and traveled to Montana. NIELSEN picked the girl up at the bus station and walked her to his nearby apartment. In the following days, NIELSEN repeatedly engaged in sexual intercourse with the girl. During that time, he also provided marijuana to the girl, which he obtained using his Montana Medical Marijuana card.

This case underscores why it is so important that local law enforcement maintain good working relationships with federal law enforcement. Through such partnerships defendants are prosecuted and removed from the community - there is no better time to do that than in a case involving children and interstate violations." Chief Mark Muir of the City of Missoula Police Department.

The FBI is pleased William Nielsen has been sentenced to four decades behind bars. FBI Special Agents work tirelessly to protect society from criminals who prey upon and victimize innocent children. Mr. Nielsen's criminal conduct harmed a 12-year-old girl, and now he will pay for his crimes for many, many years." Scott Cruse, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Salt Lake City Division.

Following the sentencing, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Michael W. Cotter said, "Today William Nielsen was sentenced to Federal Prison for 480 months - the length of time imposed is clearly commensurate with his depraved conduct. The forty year sentence imposed by the District Court sends a clear message that those individuals who lure children from their homes for their own illicit sexual gratification will be caught, arrested and punished to the full extent of the law."

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

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missoula Police Department.



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