A Belgrade man was sentenced to prison on Monday after admitting to raping a teenage girl and leaving her at a park after he got her and another teen drunk.
Gage Currier, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of felony criminal endangerment in April. Two charges — felony sexual abuse of a child and misdemeanor criminal endangerment — were dropped as part of a plea agreement reached in April.
Judge Rienne McElyea sentenced Currier on Monday to 25 years in state prison with 15 years suspended, or 15 years off his total sentence. He must also register as a level 1 sexual offender, someone considered low risk for a repeat offense.
Currier was a wrestling coach at the Belgrade Middle School from Jan. 27 to March 7, 2020.
During part of that time, prosecutor Bjorn Boyer said he groomed one girl who attended the middle school.
In April 2020, Currier met up with two 13-year-old girls at a park, giving them both vodka, according to court documents. One girl said she couldn’t remember what happened after they drank the alcohol. The other girl involved said Currier raped her after she was drunk, according to court documents.
One of the girls was found by a Belgrade police officer unconscious, drunk and possibly hypothermic in a field next to Saddle Peak Elementary School. She was taken to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital.
Currier had contacted the girls through a messaging app on his phone, inviting them to the park and offering vodka, he later told a police officer.
He had messaged one of the girls repeatedly prior to that evening, where he would ask for inappropriate photos, according to the victim’s written statement.
Testifying Monday, the father of one of the survivors said she had a difficult year and suffered from social anxiety, which impeded her from participating in her hobbies and typical social activities.
“She’s come leaps and bounds since then, but the first year was really tough,” the father said.
In a statement, the survivor said she struggled with blaming herself for Currier’s actions.
“He took a part of me I will never get back,” the girl wrote.
Currier said he understood the gravity of the situation and readily accepted the McElyea’s decision.
“I can’t take back hurting these girls or their families, or damaging the rest of the community,” he said Monday.
In handing down sentencing, McElyea said she appreciated Currier taking responsibility for his actions, but that his behavior went beyond hurting just the survivors, hurting their families and breaking the community’s trust.