Nearly a year of investigation and hundreds of hours spent by Flathead County attorneys on the Dick Dasen case yielded a sentence of two years at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and 18 years probation on Monday.
Dasen was convicted of three counts of felony prostitution, one count of misdemeanor prostitution, one count of felony sexual abuse of children and one count of promotion of prostitution in May.
The sentence recommended by Dave Castro, the Flathead County parole and probation officer, was 20 years, with only 10 suspended.
But both Deputy County Attorney Dan Guzynski and Kalispell Police Chief Frank Garner say the sentence meted out by District Judge Stewart Stadler was fair.
Under Montana law, according to Guzynski, judges are directed not to give extended prison time to nonviolent offenders.
Two years, Guzynski felt, was appropriate. Under the recommended stiffer sentence, Dasen would have been eligible for parole after two and a half years, but could have stayed in prison longer at the discretion of the parole board. And that sentence, Guzynski says, could have been overturned more easily on appeal. The sentence Dasen actually received, Guzynski thinks, is likely to stick. Either way, Dasen lawyer George Best indicated he plans to appeal.
Chief Garner was also satisfied with the sentence, pointing out that Dasen, now 63, will be in prison until he is 65, and will then be on probation during 18 years of suspended sentence. As a condition of Dasen’s suspended sentence, he’ll be allowed no unsupervised contact with females outside his family, and he will no longer be allowed to provide loans.
Garner also notes that Dasen will be required to register as a sex offender and must complete a sex offender treatment program.
“That can’t be an easy sentence,” Garner says.