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Anaconda commissioner guilty of sexual assault

By The Associated Press
Published On: Apr 26 2013 09:59:54 AM MDT
Updated On: Apr 26 2013 10:00:22 AM MDT
Robert Pierce
ANACONDA, Mont. -

 An Anaconda-Deer Lodge County commissioner has been found guilty of having sexual contact with a young girl.

The Montana Standard reports a jury deliberated for about two-and-a-half hours Thursday before finding 52-year-old Robert Pierce guilty of sexual intercourse without consent and sexual assault. District Judge Brad Newman ordered Pierce taken into custody.

Prosecutors alleged Pierce had lewd contact with a girl in April 2006, when she was 9, and again in April 2008. The child told her mother about the abuse in 2012.

Pierce was charged after an investigation by the state Division of Criminal Investigations.

Pierce's attorney, Victor Bunitsky, argued the girl was coerced into lying about the claims of sexual assault.

Under the county charter, Pierce must be removed from the commission because he was convicted of a felony.