- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A Kalispell man whose 2011 conviction for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl was overturned by the Montana Supreme Court has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl last year.

The Flathead Beacon reports (https://bit.ly/29ZjCiI ) 27-year-old Thomas Richard Nichols was sentenced Thursday after earlier entering an Alford plea. Under such a plea, a defendant maintains his innocence but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction.

After the Supreme Court overturned Nichols’ first conviction, he entered a no contest plea to felony criminal endangerment and was given a 10-year suspended sentence.

Nichols must complete two sex offender treatment programs before being eligible for parole. He must take a drug that reduces sexual desires and fantasies as a condition of his release. He also will be required to register as a Level II sex offender.

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