Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ague faces sexual assault, assault on a peace officer charges

Editor | June 8, 2021 7:00 AM

A Libby man under investigation for allegedly molesting a minor now also faces an assault on a peace officer charge.

Timothy William Ague, 60, allegedly attacked Lincoln County Detention Center personnel on May 28 while awaiting arraignment in district court. Ague, arrested May 25 on a felony sexual assault charge, had been under investigation since last summer, according to court documents.

Authorities were alerted to the yearslong abuse on July 14, 2020. A local father contacted investigators after his daughter, while meeting with a therapist, revealed incidents of sexual molestation at the hands of a relative that occurred several years earlier.

Two days later, detectives with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office sat down with the victim. During an interview summarized in an affidavit, the victim said the molestation occurred as far back as she could recall. The family had temporarily lived with Ague while her father was out-of-town, she said, and it involved him rubbing her breasts and genitalia over the clothes, according to court documents.

The molestation continued until she was in the sixth grade, court documents said. The victim recalled it happening about once a month, both during the day and after nightfall.

In one instance in particular, she remembered waking up to him hold her hand to his genitalia. She recalled being able to tell, by the light of a nightlight, that he was in her room without pants, court documents said.

The victim told him to stop and remembered crying. She left the bedroom and told Ague’s wife of the incident. She recalled Ague’s wife telling him to stop.

Between then and the admissions to her therapist, she had never spoken of the assaults, according to court documents.

“She knew it was bad, but at the time [she] did not want the family mad at her if she told anyone,” wrote Detective Duane Rhodes in an affidavit.

During a separate interview, Ague repeatedly denied the allegations, according to court documents. Ague reportedly expressed disbelief that the victim would accuse him of the behavior.

“He thought he had a good relationship with her,” Rhodes wrote. “This is the first time he is hearing this; he had no explanation for her disclosure.”

Rhodes followed up with Ague’s wife, meeting with her at a home in Libby. She became distraught as he explained the allegations, Rhodes wrote in the affidavit. Initially, she said it was the first she had heard of it.

But when Rhodes brought up the bedroom incident, Ague’s wife remembered it “right away,” he wrote.

She remembered the child awakening her. The girl told her that Ague wanted to expose himself to her. Perturbed, she confronted her husband in the yard, recalling that he was very drunk.

In the morning, a sober Ague expressed shame for the incident, she told Rhodes. She recalled telling the victim’s mother never to leave him alone with the children again.

According to court documents, Ague’s wife described him as a binge drinker, going months without touching a drop and then turning into “Jekyll and Hyde,” according to the affidavit.

Toward the end of their conversation, she told Rhodes that “she never thought he would have done this” with the victim. That piqued the detective’s interest and he pressed her on whether Ague had molested anyone else.

His wife confirmed that he had, with another female relative, and it had gone unreported, according to the affidavit.

Afterwards, Rhodes spoke with the mother of the latest victim, who did not recall Ague’s wife telling her to keep her children away from him. She doubted the warning was ever given, court documents said.

She also brought up Ague’s alleged molestation of another family member, Rhodes wrote.

A warrant for Ague’s arrest was drawn up September, though he was not arrested until May. The Lincoln County Attorney’s Office referred questions about the delay in the arrest to the sheriff’s office, which did not respond to inquiries before press time.

Days after his arrest, Ague allegedly got into a scuffle with detention center personnel. According to a probable cause statement drawn up by Deputy Kirk Kraft, at 9:49 a.m., May 28 Ague allegedly knocked on the rec room cell door. When Sgt. Justin Stufflebeam opened it, Ague pushed past him in an attempt to get out.

When Stufflebeam pushed him back in, Ague allegedly took a swing and struck the detention center sergeant on the right side of his face with a closed fist. Stufflebeam subsequently got Ague into the restraint chair, but not before the other man allegedly scratched his arm and tore his uniform.

Assault on a peace officer carries a fine of up to $50,000 and a maximum of 10 years behind bars. Sexual assault is punishable by up to 100 years in the Montana State Prison — with a minimum of four years — and a fine of $50,000.