By Tim Eberly
After spending 87 days in a Wyoming jail, Havre resident Chuck Nottingham has been ordered to return to Hill County to face sexual molestation charges.
After Nottingham was apprehended in Casper, Wyo., on July 10 after jumping bail, the state of Montana had 90 days to extradite him to Hill County. He fled Hill County after he was charged June 14 with sexual assault of an 8-year-old.
"This is really fairly typical," said Kevin Meenan, the district attorney in Natrona County, Wyo. "Montana and Wyoming are fairly easy. It gets real difficult (to extradite) when you have highly populated states like California and New York, getting the paperwork filed."
On Day 87 last Friday Nottingham was presented with a governor's warrant during a Natrona County Circuit Court appearance for his extradition. He is expected back at the Hill County Detention Center within 10 working days. Nottingham initially appeared for an extradition hearing on Aug. 29 but it was continued because the court had not received the governor's warrant from Montana.
Nottingham was originally arrested after a report of child molestation was made to the Department of Public Health and Human Services. A former Outdoors columnist for the Havre Daily News and an instructor at Montana State University-Northern, Nottingham violated the conditions of his release when he absconded to Casper, where he was taken into custody on July 10. He was held on $50,000 bond.
Police apprehended Nottingham while he was working at a thrift shop, Rescued Treasures, under the alias Chase Hale. He had been working at the store for two weeks in exchange for food and clothing, and was renting an apartment across the street.
Photos of and information about Nottingham distributed via e-mail ultimately led to his capture. His abandoned vehicle was found on a street in Billings on June 23. A telephone tip led the Casper Police Department to Rescued Treasures.
While he was a fugitive, Nottingham sent e-mails to the Havre Daily News and other Montana newspapers comparing his fleeing to that of "refugees fleeing a war zone." He accused police departments and human resource agencies of unfairly enforcing spouse abuse complaints in an effort to obtain federal and private grants. Nottingham's e-mail also promised a future written message titled, "The Underground Railroad to Escape Feminazis."