Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Sheridan Girl's Rape

William Richard Nielsen (courtesy photo)
William Richard Nielsen (courtesy photo)

MISSOULA, Mont. -- A Missoula man accused of raping a 12-year-old Wyoming girl pleaded guilty Tuesday, April 5th in federal court. 24-year-old William Richard Nielsen pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor.

Prosecutors say he lured the Sheridan, Wyoming, girl to Missoula and repeatedly raped her over a four-day period. Court documents say the girl told police that she made contact with Nielsen three weeks earlier through MySpace. Nielsen and the girl began "sexting."

He convinced the girl to catch a bus to Missoula. The affidavit says Nielsen knew the girl was 12. The girl boarded a bus from Sheridan late Tuesday night, January 4th and arrived in Missoula on Wednesday, January 5th.

Missoula police were called to a disturbance at Nielsen's residence. Court documents say the girl's father went to Nielsen's apartment and when he entered the apartment, he found his daughter naked on Nielsen's bed.

According to the state, Nielsen is a level-two sex offender, which means the state has determined him to be a moderate risk to others. Nielsen's charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

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