Stevensville man accused of raping 2 young girls

By David Erickson

A 55-year-old Stevensville man is facing felony charges for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl.

Mikeal Shane Pruett appeared before Ravalli County Justice Court Judge Robin Clute on July 2, and his bail was set at $1 million.

According to charging documents, on June 13 of this year, the 11-year-old girl visited a doctor’s office in Florence. During the exam, the girl reported stomach cramping. Further tests determined that the girl was 32 weeks pregnant. When informed of the pregnancy, the girl reported that she had engaged in sex with a 14-year-old boy at the Ravalli County Fair, denied knowing the boy’s name and reported that she had decided not to tell her custodial grandmother. The medical staff noted that the gestation did not match with the claimed date of conception by over three months.

On July 1, a 9-year-old girl told her biological mother that she saw Pruett come into the bedroom during the night and sexually assault the 11-year-old girl with his mouth and hands. The 9-year-old was subsequently forensically interviewed at Emma’s House, a shelter for abuse victims in Hamilton. She then gave a detailed description of the assaults she observed, including describing and demonstrating Pruett performing oral sex on the 11-year-old.

The 9-year-old also disclosed that Pruett sexually assaulted her on one occasion. She described being awakened to having her pajama pants pulled down and Pruett “kissing her privates.” The girl told a counselor that when she asked Pruett what he was doing, he told her it was “their little secret.”

An investigation revealed that in 1985, Pruett was charged with lewd conduct with a minor and forced sexual penetration in Butte County, Idaho.

A Ravalli County sheriff’s detective interviewed the victim in that case, and she reported that Pruett had allegedly molested her over a three-year period of time by coming into her bedroom at night, removing her clothing, fondling her genitals and committing other sexual acts. A warrant had been issued for Pruett in that case but he was never apprehended, and the case was ultimately dismissed in 1989 because of “the passage of time.”

The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two other cases in which Pruett apparently was charged with molesting young girls, one as young as 3, in Washington.

Pruett also has a DUI conviction from 2008 in Missoula County Justice Court.

Hannah Honey