Sheridan man enters Alford plea in sexual assault case

A Sheridan man arrested in July on sexual assault charges entered a change of plea in District Court on Monday, Feb. 4 before Judge Loren Tucker.

Dennis Ray Jensen entered an Alford plea of guilty to one count of sexual assault, a felony. According to the affidavit for probable cause in the case, Jensen allegedly grabbed three girls inappropriately inside his Main Street business in Sheridan in June 2012. The girls were between 11 and 12 years old at the time of the incident, and the alleged victims were all included in the one count of sexual assault.

After the Court accepted Jensen’s plea, a second count of sexual abuse of children was dismissed by a motion from the prosecution.

An Alford plea is similar to a no-contest plea in in which a defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. According to Montana law “a person who knowingly subjects another person to any sexual contact without consent commits the offense of sexual assault.”

Madison County Deputy Attorney Chris McConnell said Jensen must undergo a pre-sentence investigation that includes a psychosexual evaluation by the Adult Probation and Parole Bureau before a date is set for his sentencing.

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