Man receives 20-year sentence for sexual assault conviction

By DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic

A Hamilton man was sentenced to 20 years with the Montana Department of Corrections, with 15 years suspended, for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in his storage shed last year.

Patrick Mikeal Jinings, 62, will also be required to register as a Level 1 sexual offender and must pay $2,000 in restitution.

At Thursday’s sentencing, the victim, who is now 16, and her family erupted in cheers when the sentence was handed down by Ravalli County District Court Judge James Haynes.

According to court records, the girl, who was 15 at the time, told police that Jinings was a neighbor and that he had come to her house on Nov. 12 to ask her to help him sell some Santa Claus figurines.

After going to his house, she said Jinings asked her to go to his storage shed. Once inside, she found that the shed was completely dark. The victim told police that Jinings whispered into her ear that he would pay her $300 if she would either perform oral sex on him or let him perform oral sex on her. The victim told Jinings no, but he pinned her against the wall and held her hands behind her back.

Jinings began kissing her and putting his hands down her pants and shirt. Eventually, the girl was able to break free and run away. She initially reported the incident to Hamilton High School counselors.

Jinings pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault, and has spent the past 212 days in jail, for which he will get credit for time served.

At the sentencing on Thursday, prosecutor Bill Fulbright played a portion of an interview that the victim gave at Emma’s House Children’s Advocacy Center, a sanctuary for sexual assault victims, after the incident.

In the interview, the victim said that before the assault, Jinings had “been a father figure” to her because she didn’t have any older male adult role models, and that she “told everything to him and trusted him.”

Hamilton police officer Brad Weston testified on Thursday that he also found pictures of different young girls from the area in suggestive poses on Jinings’ Facebook account.

“I was concerned that we had more victims out in the community,” Weston said.

Fulbright also recounted how Jinings had driven around another teen girl and taken her to pornography shops and asked about her sexual experiences.

The victim took the stand before the sentencing.

“I don’t think that someone like him should be out in the community,” she said. “He lures girls in, and gains their trust, and then takes advantage of them.”

The Ravalli Republic does not identify victims of sexual assault to protect their privacy.

Jinings also requested to speak.

“There isn’t a day go by that I don’t have the upmost remorse,” he said. “I took away innocence, and nobody should have the right to do that.”

Despite Jinings’ words, Haynes did not follow the defense’s recommendation that Jinings entire sentence be suspended.

“You’ve got underlying issues that have not been addressed,” Haynes said. “You are not satisfied by your own life, and so you project sexual fantasies. I believe this is instilled in you. And we want to know there aren’t people like you out in the community.”

Hannah Honey