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  • Former Butte Central band director arrested for alleged sexual assault

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 04:10:58 PM MDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2015 10:59:27 PM MDT
    BUTTE, Mont. -

    Butte-Silver Bow officers told NBC Montana the former director of the Butte Central band has been arrested on five felonies and 12 misdemeanors.

    Scott Yorke was the band director at Butte Central Catholic School until his resignation on March 10.

    Police arrested Yorke on a warrant out of Ravalli County Thursday. He was arraigned a short time later and his bond was set at $100,000.

    The five felony charges include sexual intercourse without consent, sexual assault and criminal endangerment. He’s also charged with misdemeanors of endangering the welfare of children and unlawful transactions with children.

    He’s charged with each crime more than once, for a total of 17 charges.

    "Upon hearing the news today, we're deeply saddened to hear what's transpired," said Butte Central Catholic Schools President, Don Peoples Jr.

    Yorke is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Butte Central student and supplying her and four other students with alcohol.

    According to court documents, this all happened earlier this month when the school's high school basketball team and pep band traveled to Hamilton for the Montana Class A Girls State Tournament.

    Students stayed at the Townhouse Inn, a hotel attached to a Town Pump. That's where court records say Yorke made several trips to buy alcohol for the 15- and 16-year-old girls.

    Peoples said school officials heard about what happened and immediately stepped in.

    "Upon hearing some things that occurred, stories of things that happened in Hamilton, we immediately contacted authorities," said Peoples.

    Hamilton Police began to investigate. According to court documents, the first night in Hamilton, March 5, Yorke reportedly invited four students to his hotel room. Documents said they drank there until two girls became sick.

    The charging documents go on to say all the students left except one, and that's when Yorke allegedly raped and sexually assaulted the 16-year-old girl.

    Court records say the girl told him to stop, but it wasn't until another student knocked on the door that Yorke actually did.

    The next night, on March 6, investigators say Yorke again bought alcohol and drank with the student he allegedly sexually assaulted and another student until they became sick and went back to their room.

    During an interview weeks after the incident, documents say Yorke admitted to buying the alcohol, but told a detective he had no memory of doing anything with the student, though he said, "She had no reason to lie about it."

    Now Yorke is behind bars and Butte Central is working to move forward from this incident.

    "We're a faith-based community," said Peoples. "We're going to stick together; we're going to be available to support each other, which we have a very kind, caring and comforting school culture and we're going to come through and take care of each other."

    Peoples said counselors will be available at Butte Central.

    “As a school system, our first and highest priority is the safety and welfare of our students, and we're going to do everything in our power to ensure that continues and we're going to be very proactive and really work hard to take care of our kids,” said Peoples.

    Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said Friday they will start making plans to transfer Yorke back to Ravalli County, where the charges were filed.

    Click here to read the press release.

    Click here to read court documents.

  • Butte man sentenced for raping minor he met on social media

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 05:50:43 PM MDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2015 06:29:00 PM MDT
    Nicholas Rykiel sentencing
    BUTTE, Mont. -

    A judge sentenced a man to 20 years with all but eight suspended for raping a 14-year-old girl last year.

    According to court documents, 25-year-old Nicholas Rykiel met the girl on an internet site called Meet Me. They later met at a residence where he raped her.

    Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said the case shows just how important it is for parents to monitor their children online.

    Websites like Snapchat, Meet Me and Facebook are only a few of the vast social media websites out there. Lester says it can be an easy place for predators.

    He cautions parents to make sure you know what websites your child is using. Make sure your child does not have any personal information on any websites. Double-check what they are viewing or participating is private and among their age group, and constantly monitor them.

    “Realize that they access the internet in many ways that they couldn't in the past. You don't have to have a laptop or a tower computer to access the internet. Most of the kids are accessing the internet with iPods or phones, and know the websites they're on,” said Lester.

    Lester says that it's important you keep your information private and to never meet up with anyone you don't know.

  • Bill could change license revocation for student loan default

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 05:33:45 PM MDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2015 11:01:03 PM MDT
    KALISPELL, Mont. -

    Officials are pushing to change a law that allows residents who have defaulted on their student loan payments to have their driver's and occupational licenses revoked.

    Currently if a person is over 270 days late on a payment, they risk getting their licenses taken away.

    The State Justice Department reports that Montana has suspended the licenses of 92 people since 2007 for this reason.

    House Bill 363, which passed in the state House, would repeal the law. The bill is now in the Senate.

    Montana is one of 22 states with the law. Last year, the state revoked six residents' licenses due to defaulted student loan payments, and 19 the year before.

    "I think most students who borrow money for education are committed to their education and to repaying the money," said Flathead Valley Community College President Jane Karas. "And there are very few students -- at least in our college -- that are not able to repay their loans."

    NBC Montana spoke with FVCC students. Many opposed the current law.

    "That sounds kind of crazy," said FVCC student Maxx Caffyn, "being able to revoke the driver's license if you don't pay (loans) back on time."

    Not everyone agrees that the law should be repealed. Officials say the intention behind the law is to keep people on schedule with their payments. They say it has helped generate over $200,000 in debt collections each year.

    A student we talked to noted that if the law isn't repealed, it will throw indebted graduates even more off track.

    "If they take those licenses away, then we're definitely going to have trouble finding work, because we won't be able to drive to our job and pay off those loans," said Jordan Korn.

    Now all residents can do is wait and see if HB 363 passes the Senate.

  • Pollster: Residents more satisfied with Mountain Water than with city

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 05:15:21 PM MDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2015 11:01:13 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    A pollster hired by the city of Missoula admitted in court Thursday that residents were more satisfied with the operation of their privately-owned water utility than with the city government.

    The city is suing Mountain Water's parent company, the Carlyle Group, to force a sale of the utility to the city.

    Michael Kulisheck, of Harstad Strategic Research, testified on Thursday for the city. His polling firm conducted a city-funded poll last year that found 70 percent of Missoulians support the city purchasing Mountain Water.

    Kulisheck elaborated on the findings from the witness stand.

    "We often time see preferences that are 52-48, or 50-50 on a preference," said Kulisheck. "To find a preference that's 70 percent favoring a particular position is a unique, and frankly, in my profession, impressive finding."

    Kulisheck's polling also found that 75 percent of Missoulians were happy with the service they received from Mountain Water.

    In cross-examination, attorneys for Carlyle pointed to another finding -- that only 68 percent of Missoulians were satisfied with their city government.

    The trial resumes Friday at 9 a.m., when we're told there's a good chance the city will rest its case, and attorneys for Mountain Water will begin calling witnesses.

  • Prosecutors accuse UM student of raping teen at Missoula recovery center

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 01:54:15 PM MDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2015 06:04:15 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    A University of Montana student faces a rape charge for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.

    Charging documents accuse 23-year-old Justin Griffith of having sex with a girl who was a patient at the Teen Recovery Center.

    Prosecutors say the girl was being treated for substance abuse and mental health issues and that Griffith worked at the center where the alleged assaults happened over the last weekend.

    The girl told a counselor at the recovery center, who then called the cops.

    Griffith is described as a clinical care worker for the Western Montana Addiction Services. Griffith admitted to having an intimate relationship with the girl.

    We reached out to the Western Montana Addiction Services and they didn't return our phone call.

    Click here to read the charging document.

  • Former Butte Central band director arrested for alleged sexual assault

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 10:29:53 PM MDT
  • Brooke's First Alert Video

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 09:04:30 AM MDT

    Mostly cloudy today with highs in the 50s and low 60s. Clearing skies tonight with lows in the 30s.

  • Brooke's First Alert Video Forecast

    Published On: Mar 27 2015 08:45:58 AM MDT

    Partly to mostly sunny and very nice this afternoon with highs in the 60s to low 70s.

  • Arlee Head Start cleanup complete, will reopen soon

    Published On: Mar 26 2015 10:17:17 PM MDT