A judge in Montana is criticizing the way prosecutors have handled a rape case against a Native teen.
Rylan Talksabout, 18, is accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl. The incident occurred in March 2013, when Talksabout was 17.
Talksabout reached a plea deal to lower the charges. But Cascade County Judge Greg Pinski refused to accept the agreement.
County Attorney John Parker then filed a motion to dismiss the case altogether. The victim allegedly didn't inform Talksabout of her age, according to court documents, which could make it more difficult to secure a conviction.
Pinski, however, said the county's handling of the case could deter future victims from speaking out. He has refused to dismiss the charges.
"Besides deterring future victims of sex crimes from coming forward, the state’s position re-traumatizes victims, thereby perpetrating on victims the effects of sexual violence," Pinski wrote in a March 3 order, The Great Falls Tribune reported.
Talksabout faces similar assault charges involving a 12-year-old female victim. He has been released from custody on his own recognizance.
Talksabout's tribal affiliation was not reported but the surname can be found on the Blackfeet Nation.
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