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Hamilton man faces three felony rape charges

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Seth Wirick

A 30-year-old Hamilton man who allegedly sought assistance from his church for his “sexual predatorial behavior” is facing three felony charges of sexual intercourse without consent.

Seth Wirick also is charged with felony partner/family member assault. He was jailed Wednesday in lieu of a $75,000 bond, with an initial appearance in Justice Court set for Jan. 3.

According to court documents, Wirick met a woman in February 2016 at a Hamilton shop where he worked, and he gave her a ride home while her vehicle was in the shop. The two struck up a friendship, and began dating later that year.

In June 2017, the woman contacted the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department, saying that during their relationship, he had shown “alarming behavior” regarding forceful sexual encounters, but later would apologize and call himself a “monster.” In June 2017, when the woman was recovering from surgery, Wirick allegedly forced him to commit a sex act.

She met with him a week later to talk about what happened, and the two got into a two-hour verbal argument at the Roaring Lion trailhead. She threatened to tell his mother and a pastor at his church that they had been dating, which was frowned upon, and she also threatened to tell police. At that time, Wirick allegedly pinned her against the vehicle and grabbed her throat with both hands, strangling her. Eventually, he let go and left, according to court documents.

Later that month, she was contacted by one of the pastors “who told her he was sorry for the situation, and referred to defendant as a ‘sex addict’ and told her that they are working with defendant to get help for his problem,” Ravalli Deputy County Attorney Meghann Paddock wrote in an affidavit. “The pastor then asked for all the details of their sex life and specific instances where defendant forced himself on her. Female 1 reported that the pastor urged her not to make any reports to law enforcement, tell other members of the church, or defendant’s place of employment.”

The wife of the pastor also allegedly called the woman. The affidavit, which did not identify the church, said the pastor’s wife was “irate” and told her to stop contacting people about the incident.

When the pastor and his wife were contacted by a sheriff’s deputy, they said he had not denied the incidents, but had not admitted them either. Wirick, however, denied being aggressive with a woman, adding that he had never struck a woman or forced himself on anyone. He did tell the officer he was participating in a study in sexual addiction at the request of his church, and that he is sometimes into “rough sex.”

At least six other church members told the officer they had concerns about Wirick’s behavior, and on Nov. 24, Wirick’s mother confirmed that she didn’t believe her son was forthcoming about everything that happened with the woman. She also reported that she knew of two other instances where Wirick was implicated in “unwanted sexual acts.”

A woman who was dating Wirick in 2009-2010 told officers she broke off their relationship after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female co-worker, and that she had to seek medical attention after a sexual interaction with Wirick in which he wouldn’t stop when she asked him to because it hurt. That woman eventually needed gynecological surgery.

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