School board member sentenced for assault on colleague
A Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation official and school board member pleaded guilty to a reduced assault charge for assaulting a fellow school board member.
Under a plea agreement, Theodore B. Russette III pleaded no contest in state District Court in Havre to a misdemeanor charge of assault, amended from a felony count of aggravated assault. He will spend up to a year on supervision, with a six-month jail sentence suspended for that time.
In a no contest plea, the defendant does not admit to guilt but admits the evidence would convict him.
Russette was charged after being accused of walking up to fellow Rocky Boy School Board member Russell Standing Rock while Standing Rock was at a Havre car repair business, striking Standing Rock and causing him to fall to the ground, breaking his leg in the process.
Standing Rock said the assault came later in the day after he had argued with Russette at Russette's place of employment, the housing program at Rocky Boy.
Judge Dan Boucher accepted Russette's plea and sentenced him to six months in jail, suspending it for one year to allow Russette to complete an anger management program and mental health evaluation and counseling at his own expense, and to follow the recommendations of those programs.
Standing Rock, before the sentencing, told Boucher that the assault had created problems for him — he was in a cast through the summer and fall — and that he was upset he had not been notified that a change of plea was being arranged and that he had not had time to come up with an amount to request for restitution.
Under the plea agreement, the Hill County Attorney's Office did not seek restitution as part of the sentence.
Boucher told Russette that if he completed all of the requirements before the year was up, he could apply for an early release of the suspended sentence.