Nov. 28 Montana News Briefs

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Man who rented moving van to burglarize house gets 3 years

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Montana man who rented a moving truck and tricked some friends into helping him steal nearly $40,000 in property from a Great Falls home has been sentenced to three years in prison. The Great Falls Tribune reports District Judge Elizabeth Best sentenced 37-year-old Patrick Joseph Adams Jr. on Monday. None of the time was suspended, but she gave him credit for 251 days served. Adams pleaded no contest to burglary. The victim is a member of the military who is currently deployed overseas. He was living in Great Falls in July 2017 and reported burglary hours after it occurred. An investigation led police to the man who rented the moving truck as a favor to Adams. Best ordered Adams to pay more than $38,000 in restitution to the victim and his insurance company.

Montana State settles lawsuit over sexual harassment

BOZEMAN (AP) — Montana State University has agreed to pay $175,000 to a former student who filed a civil lawsuit alleging the school was negligent in hiring a convicted sex offender as a music teacher. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports MSU did not admit liability and settled the case earlier this month to avoid further litigation. A university investigation found assistant professor Shuichi Komiyama had an intimate relationship with the woman. She said she felt she had to give in to his sexual advances to further her career. He was hired in 2006 and resigned in September 2011. MSU earlier paid the woman $75,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim brought before the Human Rights Bureau. Komiyama pleaded guilty in 1990 to two felonies for having a sexual relationship with a California high school student when he was in his early 20s.

Hunter kills grizzly bear south of Gibson Dam

HELENA (AP) — Officials say a hunter killed a grizzly bear in Montana, south of Gibson Dam. The Independent Record reports United States Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Jackie Otto says the grizzly, which was killed Nov. 14, was an older boar, “probably in his late teens.” The federal Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the incident.

NorthWestern Energy customers to see credit after tax cuts

HELENA (AP) — NorthWestern Energy customers will soon be seeing a credit on their bills due to the utility’s savings under the federal tax cut enacted last December. The Montana Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved an agreement reached between NorthWestern and consumer groups. It calls for a one-time credit of $20.5 million that will be made within 30 days. NorthWestern estimates average customers will receive a one-time credit of $24 on their power bills and $3.50 on their natural gas bills. NorthWestern initially estimated a $14 million benefit from the tax cuts and proposed returning about $8.5 million to customers while spending the rest to remove hazardous trees near power lines. Consumer groups negotiated a higher refund and agreed to support spending on hazardous tree removal as part of NorthWestern’s current electric rate review filing.