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John Lesofski

Montana game warden John Lesofski is pictured holding a bighorn sheep skull during the state auction of confiscated wildlife horns and antlers in Great Falls earlier this year.

A charge against a Montana game warden alleging unlawful dissemination of sensitive law enforcement information has been dismissed.

John Lesofski of White Sulphur Springs was issued a citation in October by the Helena Police Department, alleging a misdemeanor count of disseminating a law-enforcement-sensitive document to an unauthorized person or entity. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

On Feb. 20 Lesofski, who has been a game warden for more than 25 years, appeared in Helena Municipal Court on a motion to dismiss. On Feb. 23, the charge was dismissed at the request of the Helena City Attorney’s Office.

“It was a technical violation and I don’t think prosecuting it would have a beneficial outcome,” said Helena City Attorney Thomas Jodoin.

Jodoin declined to expand on the reason for dismissal, saying that doing so could identify other people related to the case.

Lesofski’s attorney Palmer Hoovestal said the motion to dismiss was based on a lack of probable cause and evidence.

“Mr. Lesofski is a very seasoned law enforcement officer with a stellar record, and the city attorney found he didn’t do anything inappropriate, which was the basis of our filing a motion to dismiss,” Hoovestal said.

Lesofski, as an officer, took the charge “very seriously” and was under a great deal of stress that he is happy to have behind him, he added.

In December, the city attorney's office released the police report to the Independent Record in response to a public records request. The heavily redacted document removed references to other people and locations.

According to the document, the Montana Department of Justice informed Helena police that an officer caution bulletin was mailed anonymously to another party. The bulletin, which is marked as law enforcement sensitive, details potential threats against law enforcement, the police report says.

Through their investigation, Helena police learned that Lesofski had informed the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office and a Helena realty office about the threats.

The police report alleged that the realty company asked Lesofski for and was allowed to keep a copy of the documents, at which time it obtained the officer bulletin. The report does not clarify whether Lesofski intended for the bulletin to be copied along with other publicly available documents.

The report says Lesofski regretted bringing the bulletin to the realty company and was "distraught and shocked" when he was informed that the document was later mailed to a third party.

Lesofski provided the name of the individual he spoke with, and Helena police later recovered the document from the realty company, according to the police report.

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin

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