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Mattis sentencing delayed after judge rejects terms of plea deal

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | July 16, 2021 7:00 AM

Lincoln County District Judge Matthew Cuffe this week rejected the terms of a plea deal struck by a Libby man who allegedly admitted to raping a child, saying the crime warrants a harsher penalty.

Cody Mattis, 28, was facing 15 years behind bars heading into his July 12 sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual assault in June. Prosecutors initially charged Mattis with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent as well as sexual assault.

Under the deal, Mattis was to receive a 35-year sentence with the Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended. He would need to complete two rounds of sex offender treatment before becoming eligible for parole.

On Monday, Cuffe said he had a tougher sentence in mind after reviewing the case, particularly the pre-sentence investigation and the psychosexual evaluation.

“I am not going to follow the recommendations,” he told the court, saying that his sentence “will be harsher than the one that has been negotiated within the plea agreement.”

Nixing the terms of the deal allows Mattis to change his plea or try to negotiate a new agreement. Cuffe gave Mattis one week to decide how to proceed.

“I’m going to give Mr. Mattis an opportunity to discuss that with his attorney,” Cuffe said. “And indicate whether or not he wants to withdraw his guilty plea and negotiate something else or whatever the case may be. This particular plea agreement I’m not going to accept.”

Keenan Gallagher, Mattis’ attorney, asked if Cuffe could offer any details on how his sentence might differ from the recommendation. Cuffe said his preferred sentence would include “a parole restriction for a length of time over the agreed upon incarceration.”

A status hearing in the case is set for July 19.

Mattis came to the attention of authorities after his then-girlfriend caught him digitally raping a child in a bathroom with his genitalia exposed, court documents state. She had installed a camera in the restroom, suspecting Mattis was sexually assaulting the girl, and recorded him in the act on Jan. 17, court documents said.

Confronted by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Mattis allegedly admitted to sexually assaulting the child, a relative of his. Prosecutors later alleged that Mattis raped the child in the living room on or about that same evening.

According to court documents, the victim confirmed the sexual abuse during an interview with investigators.

To report child abuse or neglect, contact Child and Family Services of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services at 1-866-820-5437.