Search Begins for New County Commissioner - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Search Begins for New County Commissioner

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A former Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Commissioner is awaiting his sentencing hearing, after a 12-member jury found him guilty of raping a minor on Thursday.

"I believe justice has been served here," Anaconda resident, Walt Hansen said.

Thursday Robert Pierce was found guilty of raping a child, a crime that could possibly put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

He was convicted of sexually assaulting his step-grand daughter on multiple occasions.

Today Anaconda residents are sharing their reaction to hearing the news that an elected official, who was well known in the community, was found guilty of the crime.

"I don't think it really matters if you're an elected official or someone just working for a company, whatever it happens to be, it's wrong," Hansen said. "That type of thing is just unacceptable."

"It doesn't speak well for Anaconda when an elected official has been accused of something like that and ultimately convicted," said Anaconda resident, John Collin. "So that is a bit of a stain."

Pierce is no longer a county commissioner.

County by-laws state if a commissioner is convicted of a felony, they can no longer serve.

Pierce is also incarcerated.

While residents voice their displeasure, the process begins to replace Pierce on the county commission.

"What's going to have to happen is the county commissioners are going to have to advertise for this position," said Chief Executive Connie Daniels. "They will interview perspective commission candidates, and it has to be someone from that district, and then they will make the selection."

Normally, the election runner-up for the open seat would get the position, but since no one ran against pierce, the four current commissioners will be in charge of the selection.

Daniels says the commissioners will immediately begin the search for Pierce's replacement.

Judge Brad Newman ordered a pre-sentence investigation following yesterday's guilty verdict.

An official sentence will be made following the investigation.

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