was an LDS church member; in 2001, accused of sexual abuse; in 2002, found guilty of sexual intercourse without consent

Case report

Kelly Teters was an LDS church member in Montana.

On May 2, 2001, Teters was charged in a district court in Montana with two felony charges: sexual intercourse without consent, and intimidation. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

From the Bozeman, Montana Daily Chronicle:

“Kelly James Teters was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Manhattan girl in 1997.

Before handing down the sentence, District Judge Mike Salvagni expressed concern about Teters’ behavior during and after the trial.

“The court does not think and cannot conclude that he accepts his responsibility for what he has done,” Salvagni said.

Salvagni noted that Teters’ testimony during his two-day jury trial in March differed significantly from statements he made after his conviction, during interviews with Montana Department of Corrections staff.

“This defendant has not been honest,” the judge said.

A pre-sentencing report issued by the Department of Corrections did not recommend that Teters be incarcerated. But Salvagni’s sentence means the 38-year-old former Manhattan resident will spend more than two years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

Teters wept silently through most of Wednesday’s hearing and had to pause several times to collect himself when he rose to speak.

“I made a mistake,” he said. “I pray that the Heavenly Father has mercy on my soul.”

But Deputy County Attorney Ashley Harrington was skeptical of Teters’ contrition.

“He chose to engage in sexual contact with his victim, he chose to have her testify, he chose to plead not guilty,” Harrington said. “I ask your honor to take whatever remorse this defendant shows today with a grain of salt because it is too little and too late.”

During Teters’ trial, his victim testified that Teters called her to his Manhattan workshop, saying he had work for her to do there. When the girl arrived, he pushed her into the parts room and sexually assaulted her. This occurred on multiple occasions, according to the girl.

In 1999 Teters admitted to a Mormon official in Bozeman that he had inappropriate relations with the girl. The official met with Teters and the victim, but did not notify the authorities.

Teters was arrested in May 2001 after his victim and her mother reported the abuse to Mormon church officials in Utah, where they were living at the time.”

Case facts

Case information sources

  1. Judge chastises man for lack of remorse for sexual assault
    view source details | 8 May 2002 | Bozeman Daily Chronicle
  2. Opinion of the Montana Supreme Court - State v. Teters - 91 P.3d 559 (2004) - 2004 MT 137
    view source details | 15 May 2023 | judyrecords

Case information source details

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