Sex offender back in custody, must repeat Phase 2 treatment

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, December 27, 2018

DOC photo
Ryan Gates

A young sex offender who has already spent five years in prison is going back due to probation violations.

Ryan James Gates, 26, was in 22nd Judicial District Court last week for sentencing on the revocation of his 2013 sentence, based on the violations.

The case is somewhat complicated.

In 2013, Gates was given a 25-year sentence for four felony counts of sexual assault. He served five years in the system and was released.

In May 2018, he was arrested on revocation charges for failing to comply with sex offender treatment conditions, being in an unapproved relationship with a female and having unauthorized access to the Internet in his home, which he used to view pornography.

He admitted to those violations, and based on an evaluation by a sexual offender expert, the prosecution and defense jointly recommended that the remaining 18 years left on the sentence be imposed again, but with all that time suspended, with the exception of three years. During those three years, they recommended that Gates repeat Phase 2 Sex Offender Treatment and then be placed in a pre-release center to help him ease back into society.

Judge Blair Jones followed the recommendation, but noted that the Montana Department of Corrections has the final say on where Gates spends his time and if he is placed in a pre-release center before being allowed to return to society. He did not go through a pre-release center the first time he was released from DOC.

Jones said the sentence gives a measure of punishment and accountability, as well as rehabilitation for Gates and community protection.

Jones also re-imposed a Level 2 Sex Offender designation, which means Gates is at a moderate risk to repeat a sex crime.


In 2013, Gates received what amounted to a 5-year prison sentence after admitting to five felony sexual assaults of four different girls ranging in age from 12 to 16. A parole restriction was put in place that required him to complete Phase 1 of the prison’s sex offender treatment program before his release.

The assaults took place during a two-year period from 2009 to 2010 in the Columbus area. One of the victims was 12, two were 13 and one was

15. Gates was more than three years older than all his victims. Authorities said at least one of the assaults was a violent attack. One assault resulted in a pregnancy.

Under state law, a juvenile under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual activity.

Gates’s fifth victim was a 12-year-old girl to whom he sent a photo and text messages to while out on bond after pleading guilty to the first four assaults. Gates told the girl he wanted to have sex with her and asked her repeatedly to send him nude photos of herself, according to court documents.

The FBI analyzed Gates’s cell phone and recovered 107 graphic files, three pornographic video files, 12 photos of females who were naked or semi-clothed, sexually related audio MP3 files, more than 300 text messages during a four-day period to a female detailing their sexual encounter and plans for future sexual encounters. He was investigated jointly by the Columbus Police Department and the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office.