A former Missoula man pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent Thursday for having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 34.
Gregory Sage, 42, offered the plea following an agreement that includes a 20-year prison sentence, with 10 years suspended.
In return for his plea, the Ravalli County Attorney’s office dropped a sexual abuse of children charge that came as a result of Sage allegedly video-recording the girl when she was 17 years old.
Sage will be sentenced on April 24.
The case was first reported in April 2013 after the teen’s mother became suspicious about her daughter and Sage’s relationship and reported her concerns to the Hamilton police. The woman said Sage was treating her daughter more like a girlfriend than a child.
The girl’s mother kicked Sage out of the house after she arrived home unexpectedly and caught the two together in what appeared to be an inappropriate situation.
The girl initially denied any sexual activity with Sage during an initial forensic interview conducted at Emma’s House that same month.
When the girl turned 18, she returned to Hamilton from the Oregon community where she attending college. In a meeting with a Hamilton police detective, she disclosed that she had been untruthful and had continued a relationship with Sage, including moving to Oregon to be near the community where he was attending college.
The charging affidavit said the now 18-year-old woman “acknowledged that she was still struggling with a desire to protect (Sage), but was realizing that (Sage) had hurt her and that what he had done was wrong.”
She told the detective her relationship with Sage had started in October 2012 when she was 15 years old. She knew the specific date because she and Sage observed that date as their “anniversary.”
The woman “acknowledged that most of the things that they had done together were ‘under the radar,” and that (Sage) told her he did things with her ‘happiness, health and wellbeing in mind.’ (The woman) reported she now realized that was not true,” the charging affidavit read.
Sage remains free on $50,000 bail awaiting sentencing. He currently lives in Oregon.
“I think it’s the right outcome in this case,” said Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright.