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Dionne arraigned for posing as law enforcement

Daily Inter Lake | September 10, 2021 7:00 AM

A Polson man accused of posing as a federal law enforcement agent to two girls last month has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge stemming from the encounter.

Pernell Dionne, 36, was arraigned Aug. 30 in Lincoln County District Court on a single count of impersonating a public servant. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1 with a pretrial conference to follow on Nov. 29.

Authorities arrested Dionne on Aug. 7 after responding to a report of a man making inappropriate contact with children near the Libby Creek Bridge. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Derek Breiland was first on the scene and found Dionne sitting on a guardrail, according to court documents.

Dionne allegedly told Breiland he was sitting beneath the bridge when two girls approached him. The pair offered him food, which he took, he told the deputy.

Dionne thought they seemed put-off by him. He told Breiland he showed the girls a badge and assured them he was a U.S. Marshal and deputy sheriff, court documents said.

None of that was true, Breiland wrote in an affidavit.

“The badge is fake and Dionne is not associated with any law enforcement agency,” wrote Breiland, who seized the badge.

Dionne “seemed shocked” by the revelation that he was not associated with law enforcement, according to Breiland. Dionne allegedly said that he believed he “was a cop” because his grandfather served in the U.S. Army.

Breiland took Dionne to the Lincoln County Detention Center. He initially was held on a $5,000 bond.

Impersonating a public servant is punishable by up to five years behind bars and a $5,000 fine.