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Prosecutors detail alleged rape of 7-year-old girl in Butte

Montana Standard - 2/22/2024

Feb. 19—×

Prosecutors allege that a 56-year-old man on parole for incest involving a 13-year-old girl in Helena in 2005 recently performed oral sex on a 7-year-old girl in Butte and had her do sex acts to him.

The girl's parents believe the alleged rapes by Raul Beltran occurred recently because they found a video the girl had taken of her vaginal area on Jan. 15 "to see what it looked like" and she told them about the incidents.

Police arrested Beltran on Jan. 20 and prosecutor Ann Shea filed initial rape charges the next day. They did not provide details but Shea relays specifics of what she believed happened in newly filed documents.

Beltran is charged with sexual intercourse without consent, or in the alternative, sexual assault, and is being held in the Butte jail with bond set at $500,000. He is to be arraigned Feb. 28 before District Judge Robert Whelan.

Sexual intercourse without consent, with the ages involved in this case, carries a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison with no possibility of parole for the first 25 years. Sexual assault in this case is punishable by up to life in prison or 100 years.

Details of Beltran parole

The Montana Department of Pardons and Parole granted parole for Raul Beltran in late 2020, with numerous restrictions and conditions, including the highest level of parole supervision, according to board records.

Unless judges put restrictions on parole at sentencing, offenders are eligible for parole in Montana after serving a fourth of their sentences. That doesn't necessarily mean they are granted parole, but they are eligible.

The judge in the Helena case sentenced Beltran in 2006 to 20 years in prison with 20 more suspended, but said he could not be paroled until he completed all phases of sex-offender treatment in prison.

He would have been parole eligible in November 2010 but had not met all treatment requirements, and even if he had, the board can and does weigh the nature of offenses and public safety in its decisions.

The board held a hearing on Beltran in August 2020 and granted a parole plan through a compact with Texas. Beltran had family in Texas, a job lined up and living arrangements and wanted to move there.

But Texas parole investigators discovered there were minors in the home he planned to stay at and would not take Beltran.

The Montana Parole Board rescinded its approval of that plan but did grant parole in MontanaButte specifically — during a hearing in October 2020, according to board records.

In addition to many standard conditions, Beltran would have to continue counseling in the community and meet higher supervision requirements if requested by parole officers.

He could have no unsupervised contact with minors, could not hold jobs dealing with children, and was specifically prohibited from being in Lewis and Clark County, where the 2005 rape occurred, the board said.

Beltran was released from prison on parole on Dec. 18, 2020, with about five years left on his 20-year custodial sentence. His recent arrest occurred with 22 months remaining.

Beltran is currently jailed with bail set at $500,000. Even if he were to be released, he would be returned to the Montana State Prison because the Parole Board chairman placed a "security hold" on him after his recent arrest.

That means his case would again be reviewed by the Parole Board and the board could revoke parole even without a conviction in the new case.

Beltran was previously convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Helena in April 2005. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 of them suspended, and was paroled in late 2020 (see accompanying story).

According to prosecutors in the new case, the 7-year-old girl lived in the neighborhood of Beltran's apartment and took a picture of her vaginal area with her electronic tablet on Jan. 15. Her mother asked if someone "showed her this" and she told her about the incidents.

During a forensic interview, the girl referred to Beltran as "guy" and said he tells her she is cute, gives her candy, says he loves her and they are like family. She said Beltran showed her videos of two naked people "doing stuff" and there are other girls and boys in the videos.

The girl said Beltran would undress her, put his mouth on her private parts and would take his pants off and show his privates. He would then have her perform sex acts on him with her hands, prosecutors say.

The girl described his apartment, its layout, where certain furniture was and said his bed had a tiger blanket.

Police contacted Beltran's parole officer in Butte and when he showed for an appointment at the parole office, they arrived and said they had a search warrant to search his apartment. He lived there with an adult sister.

The search turned up items the girl had described, including the blanket, as well as pills for erectile dysfunction and a sex doll, prosecutors say. Beltran told police he needed the pills to get erections and used the doll to perform sex acts.

But he said he was a private person and the only visitor to his apartment was a woman who stole something and was no longer welcome.

Beltran admitted that he does see kids playing in the neighborhood but denied having any interactions with children.

"Beltran stated that he has never had any kids in his apartment because it would be an immediate parole violation," the charging documents state. "Beltran denied sexually abusing/assaulting any juveniles."

The Montana Department of Corrections had deemed Beltran a tier 3 sex offender, meaning he is a threat to public safety and the risk of a repeat sexual offense is high.

Beltran told Butte police that his previous sentence was excessive and he should not have been deemed a tier 3 sex offender because that "is a person who hides in the bushes, snatches kids and kills them," according to charging documents.

"Beltran believes that a neighbor or someone else found out he was a tier 3 sex offender and are trying to get him in trouble but could not say who would be making these accusations," the documents state.

But, they state, Beltran could not explain how a juvenile could identify items in his bedroom, including the blanket with tigers, if no one had been in his home.

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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