Saturday, February 04, 2023
39.0°F

Libby man gets prison time for molesting young son

by Canda Harbaugh & Western News
| January 14, 2009 11:00 PM

Christopher Haines, 26, of Libby was given a maximum 20-year sentence, with 15 years suspended, on Tuesday after being charged for sexually molesting his young son.

Dr. James Myers spoke for the defense, recommending that Haines receive outpatient sex offender treatment, while the victim’s stepfather spoke for the state.

In a last attempt to gain leniency, Haines testified to being a victim of sexual abuse, detailing separate occasions of childhood abuse by two teenage boys and a babysitter.

District court judge Michael Prezeau was unsympathetic when he handed Haines his sentence, requiring Haines to complete phases one and two of the state’s sex offender program before being released. Because there is a waiting list for the program, Haines may spend more than five years in prison.

Onlookers were visibly stunned and Haines’s family wept.

“I’m shocked,” said the victim’s mother. “I didn’t think it would be as long. It’s kind of nice that justice was served.”

Haines was arrested last October for molesting his 5-year-old son sometime in June or July of last year. When interviewed by police, Haines admitted to sexual misconduct in a “moment of weakness.”

Zugg pleads not guilty to shooting

Kolby Zugg, 35, pleaded not guilty on Monday to allegedly shooting his brother early Christmas morning at his parents’ home south of Libby.

Zugg is being charged with assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment, both felonies, after a physical brawl with his 32-year-old brother allegedly turned into a shootout. 

His brother’s injuries were not life-threatening.

The criminal endangerment charge involves Zugg allegedly shooting off a gun in a room with other people, potentially putting them all in harm’s way.

The judge lowered Zugg’s bail from over $100,000 to $25,000 and set conditions for his release. Because he is not allowed to speak to his brother and father, alleged victims, he will remain in Flathead County, where he resides, and only appear in Lincoln County for court-related issues. He is also prohibited from using alcohol or drugs or carrying a weapon.

In other court news this week:

• Terry Morrissette pleaded not guilty on Monday to allegedly engaging in intercourse with a 9-year-old boy.

Morrissette is being charged with two felonies related to an incident that allegedly occurred while camping on Loon Lake over Memorial Day weekend in 2007.

The child alleges that he shared a tent with Morrissette, who was a family friend, one night while camping with his family. Morrissette had been drinking, according to the alleged victim, and forced him to engage in sexual acts. The child said that Morrissette told him not to tell his parents because they wouldn’t believe him.

Morrissette confirmed sharing a tent with the boy, but denies any sexual misconduct.

• Christopher Newton pleaded not guilty on Monday to felony assault charges after allegedly beating up a man last November at a Loon Lake campground.

Newton and his friend allegedly approached a man camping near their site the night of Nov. 23 and told him to leave. When he refused, they allegedly punched him so many times that the victim suffered a broken facial bone and severe facial contusions.

• Gregory Griffin, 31, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for a felony drug charge.

Griffin was arrested last May after being approached by police to serve a warrant on a woman that Griffin was with. According to police, he was uncooperative and resistant, and crushed prescription drugs were found on him. He was also implicated in a purse theft a few days prior.

As part of a plea agreement, Griffin pleaded guilty to criminal possession, while misdemeanor counts of theft, obstruction of a peace officer and resisting arrest were dropped.

The judge recommended that Griffin serve time at a state chemical dependency clinic and later be placed in a pre-release center.