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Montana Man Gets 225 Years in Prison for Indecent Exposure

A Missoula man who was on parole after serving nine years in prison for rape was sentenced Tuesday to 225 years in prison for three felony counts of indecent exposure.

District Judge James Haynes sentenced Robert Stearns to 75 years in prison on each of the counts. The sentences will run consecutively.

"I've never seen such a harsh punishment recommended for a nonviolent crime," said James Clapp, Stearns' attorney. "To have Mr. Stearns sent away to prison and throw away the key is not a fair result."

A District Court jury in October found Stearns, 45, guilty of charges he confronted three women in two Hamilton city parks, then exposed himself and masturbated. The incidents occurred in September, November and December 2006.

At the time of Stearns' March 2007 arrest, he was on probation for a conviction in Cascade County in 1997 of two counts of indecent exposure and one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

"Your behavior brought you here. ... You have some irresistible temptation to go to the park even knowing what you faced," Judge Haynes said. "You're just not able to divert. You've demonstrated that twice in two communities across Montana."