Fromberg man arrested on Sexual Assault charge

r A Fromberg man faces a felony charge after the prosecutor said he allegedly had sexual intercourse without consent, a charge involving a minor. Phillip Van Meter was arraigned Wednesday, March 5, in Carbon County District Court on one count of sexual intercourse without consent. He is currently out on bail. A female told police the incident happened on Feb. 21 in Fromberg, according to an affidavit filed with the court. Fromberg Chief of Police Ralph Dawson spoke with the female after being contacted by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office dispatch on Feb. 22, the affidavit stated. The crime charged is a felony, as stated in Montana law, and includes:  “the victim was 12 years of age or younger and the offender was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense.”  

The alleged victim was taken to Billings Clinic where a sexual assault exam was performed and evidence was collected and submitted, along with other evidence, to the Montana State Crime Lab.  Judge Blair Jones set bail at $100,000 on Feb. 28. On March 3, bail was met and an order of release issued by the court.  Van Meter is required to meet a number of conditions as part of his bail, including being monitored by a GPS tracking device, not being alone with minors under age 18, making all court appearances and maintaining or seeking employment.

He is also prohibited from having contact with the alleged victim and families, any witnesses and their families and must keep a 9 p.m. curfew. He is not allowed to use alcohol, dangerous drugs or controlled substances without a prescription and may not leave Montana without written permission from the court. Van Meter’s attorney is Gregory E. Paskell. The court further ordered Van Meter to submit to DNA testing. If found guilty, the offense shall be punished with 100 years in state prison without suspension or deferment for 25 years, subject to exceptions, and including no eligibility for parole during that time.  He may also face a fine not to exceed $50,000 and other conditions.