Martin Joseph Blake, a 40-year-old man from Montana, will not serve time in prison after pleading guilty to one charge of incest against his 12-year-old daughter.
Blake’s plea agreement was a 100-year prison sentence with 75 years suspended, reports local NBC affiliate KFOR.
Judge John McKeon ignored the conditions of the plea deal, and instead sentenced Blake to 60 days in jail, minus 17 days for time already served.
Additionally, he will be required to register as a sex offender, according to the Glasgow Courier.
While he was only charged with one count of incest, Prosecutor Dylan Jensen said that Blake “repeatedly raped” his daughter. McKeon asked why, if Blake was a repeat offender, there was only one charge against him. Jensen said he dropped the other charges as part of the plea deal, and added, “Either way, my recommendation would be the same.” He added that he didn’t think a father raping his daughter once was any less offensive than a father raping his daughter multiple times.
As part of the plea agreement, Jensen dropped the other charges. He said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the judge’s more lenient ruling, but that he “respects” McKeon’s decision.
Blake’s public defender, Casey Moore, said that even without prison time, his client can be held accountable in other ways. “He did spend 17 days in jail, and he did lose his job,” Moore said. “For the most part, he will be on supervision for the rest of his life.”
McKeon’s judgment was based on testimony from Michael Sullivan, a licensed social worker, who described Blake as a low risk for recidivism. He recommended community-based sex offender treatment, and said that it was crucial that Blake have “social support” from his family, which had collapsed following his arrest.
Blake’s mother told the court that she would provide that support. “My son is welcome at my home for any time that he needs.”
McKeon said that the conditions of Blake’s sentence were “restrictive” and “quite rigorous.” In addition to the social worker’s testimony, he justified his ruling based on the support Blake had from his friends, his church, and his employer, including letters from his mother and grandmother asking that he be allowed to stay in the community.
In his testimony, Blake said that he is employed, and attends church every Sunday.
Sources: KFOR, The Glasgow Courier / Photo credit: KRTV