- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Helena teenager has pleaded guilty to stealing a donation box and silver bowl from the Cathedral of St. Helena in January.

District Judge James Reynolds told Nicoline Ann George her sentencing will be July 23. George, 19, could face up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines after pleading guilty to felony theft.

County Attorney Leo Gallagher and Defense Attorney Greg Beebe formed a plea agreement that dismissed one misdemeanor count of desecration of a place of worship. George was accused of defiling furniture and books and urinating in the cathedral pulpit, according to previous documents filed in Lewis and Clark County District Court.

George and her co-defendant Gary Stephen Bristol were accused of stealing $4,137 worth of property from the cathedral, according to court documents. Surveillance video from the cathedral showed two people stealing the donation box and attempting to break into a box used to purchase candles, the Independent Record reported (https://tinyurl.com/oe35f4d).

Bristol, 18, of East Helena, has pleaded not guilty to both felony theft and misdemeanor desecration of a place of worship.



In April, Reynolds reduced Bristol’s bail to $10,000 from $25,000, with the addition of GPS monitoring. Defense attorney Ryan Rutzke argued that his client had no adult criminal record and requested that bail be dropped to $1,000, with GPS monitoring; however, deputy county attorney Luke Berger protested.

“The victim in this case is the cathedral,” Berger said. “When you look at the victim, no one is safe from Mr. Bristol’s actions.”

Bristol remains in county jail. His trial has been set for June 23. He could face up to $50,000 in fines and more than 10 years in prison if convicted.

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Information from: Independent Record, https://www.helenair.com

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