The Montana Department of Justice amended charges this week in the case against former Valley County Undersheriff Luke Strommen, according to the Glasgow Courier.
Strommen allegedly committed not only the crime of felony sexual abuse of a child, but also faces a charge of sexual intercourse without consent for a separate incident of inappropriate sexual contact that began when the alleged victim was 14-years-old.
According to court documents, around Sept. 1, 2009 through 2011, Strommen had repeated sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. Charging documents allege that the crimes began around the same time Strommen was on his way to attend the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in 2009 and ended two years later.
The amended charges are in addition to earlier filings in District Court for an instance that occurred in 2014 where Strommen is alleged to have received images of a sexually explicit nature from a 17-year old girl, whom he was in a consensual sexual relationship at the time, according to charging documents.
He has been summoned to appear before District Court on January 14.
(October 15, 2018) Valley County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Strommen has been charged with felony sexual abuse of a child.
According to the Glasgow Courier, court documents allege that the then-17-year old victim met Strommen in 2014, and the two engaged in an “intimate” relationship for about one year; she met Strommen while he was on duty during a traffic stop.
The two communicated via phone, text, and email while also meeting for sexual encounters. The victim said that the majority of the time that they met, Strommen was in uniform and on duty.
Court documents state: “The victim described the defendant as ‘very sly, conniving, and power-hungry,’ however she confirmed that her intimate involvement with the defendant was consensual.”
The victim provided investigators with the cellphone that was used in 2014 to communicate with Strommen; an analysis of the phone revealed numerous conversations and images between the victim and defendant.
Court documents also state that an agent with with the Montana Department of Criminal Investigation corroborated Strommen’s tactics and behavior with statements by multiple witnesses and other involved parties.
Strommen has not been arrested at this point, and is scheduled to appear in District Court in Glasgow on Tuesday at 1:15 pm.
(AUGUST 14, 2018) Valley County Undersheriff Luke Strommen withdrew his name from the Sheriff’s race on Monday, according to the Valley County Clerk and Recorder. Strommen is currently on paid administrative leave and is being investigated for an incident that occurred four years ago.
According to the Division of Criminal Investigation, Sheriff Vernon Buerkle requested the investigation into the official misconduct allegation. The incident that led to the investigation happened under the leadership of Sheriff Glen Meier, who retired early in 2017.
Joe Horn and the newest candidate, Thomas Boyer, are both currently running for sheriff of Valley County.
(July 31, 2018) Valley County Undersheriff Luke Strommen has been placed on paid administrative leave since June. Strommen is currently being investigated for an incident that happened four years ago.
In a press release, Sheriff Vernon Buerkle said the investigation is being conducted by the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Montana Department of Justice.
The incident that led to the investigation happened under the leadership of Sheriff Glen Meier, who retired early in 2017. Details of the investigation are not being released by the sheriff’s office or state investigators, but in a statement released June 18 Buerkle said: “This action is the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by investigators from the Montana Department of Justice for an incident which occurred approximately four years ago.”
Strommen is currently running against Joe Horn for the position of Valley County Sheriff.
A spokesman for the Montana Department of Justice confirmed Tuesday that DCI is investigating Strommen for allegations of official misconduct. The state agency’s involvement came at the request of the sheriff.
The spokesman said that when the investigation is complete, prosecutors in the Montana Attorney General’s Office will review the case file and make a determination of possible charges.
Strommen could not be reached for comment.