BILLINGS - A Billings man accused of molesting a teenage girl has admitted to the crime but prosecutors are not planning to recommend a prison sentence.
Troy Tippets Hagel, 47, pleaded guilty Monday in Yellowstone County District Court to three counts of sexual assault.
According to a plea agreement, prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence of 25 years to the Montana Department of Corrections with 15 years suspended. The DOC commitment would allow Hagel to be placed in a pre-release program for treatment if he is approved.
Hagel admitted he molested a 13-year-old girl for over a year.
The girl told her mother about the abuse, which was then reported to authorities.
The girl’s grandmother told authorities she had been suspicious that Hagel was abusing the victim.
The grandmother reported that her other daughter, the victim’s aunt, told her Hagel had sent disturbing sexual images to her phone.
The images depicted Hagel with the victim's underwear, according to court documents.
When the grandmother confronted Hagel, he allegedly repeated: “I’m sick.”
Hagel will be required to complete sex offender treatment while in state custody.
A sentencing date has yet to be set.