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Press Release

Middle School Teacher Sentenced For Sexually Assaulting Student

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

The United States Attorney's Office announced that TYRELL LEE BALIBARDIN, 22, of Browning, Montana, was sentenced to a term of 30 months imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a special assessment of $100 during a federal court hearing in Great Falls, Montana, on March 18, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris.

BALIBARDIN was sentenced in connection with his December 17, 2013, guilty plea to sexual abuse of a minor. In an Offer of Proof, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon stated it would have proved that BALIBARDIN was a substitute teacher for the Technology Class at Browning Middle School. BALIBARDIN began a sexual relationship with his student that included vaginal and oral sex.

At sentencing, the government stated, "Teachers exist to nurture and help their students to explore the world. No part of that job description includes having sexual intercourse. Mr. Balibardin violated that rule, breaching the trust of the school, parents, and the community."

The District Court sentenced BALIBARDIN to 30 months of imprisonment, with five years of supervised release to follow. BALIBARDIN will also be required to register as a sexual offender.

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

U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter said the sentence, which was within the federal advisory sentencing guideline range, reflected the seriousness of the crime and the need to protect children from those who abuse and take advantage of a position of trust. "Children are the most treasured, yet most vulnerable, members of the tribal community. They are made even more vulnerable when they are told to trust, respect, and obey those in positions of authority, like teachers. The sexual abuse of children is most destructive when committed by people entrusted with their care."

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated January 14, 2015