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Monday, June 14, 2010

[MT] Laurel Police Officer Joel Sauter's disappearing suicidal standoff and domestic assault charges

Laurel Police Chief Rick Musson:
..."We are all human, things happen. Even though we know that the public puts us on a different pedestal, a higher pedestal even, we put ourselves on a higher pedestal. But the fact of the matter remains that we are all human and things happen in our lives. And we as a family of Laurel PD are here to support all of our members. So we're concerned for officer Sauter and his family during this trying time"...

Previous post:
[MT] Officer Sauter's wife flees house with the children - ...According to court filings, Sauter was drunk and argued with his wife late Friday. He then threatened to kill himself, and tried to open up a safe holding multiple guns... His wife tried to stop him, and she was bumped toward the wall during the struggle, court records state.  She then tore the electronic keypad off the safe to prevent if from being opened and left the house with her children...

OFFICER ACCEPTS PLEA DEAL IN ASSAULT
Billings Gazette
Kahrin Deines
Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:58 pm
A Laurel police officer has received a six-month deferred sentence for a charge relating to a family disturbance that ended in a standoff with other officers outside his home in March. Joel Kent Sauter, 37, pleaded no contest June 3 to misdemeanor assault in Billings Municipal Court.  In exchange for the plea, prosecutors amended a misdemeanor charge of partner or family member assault to simple assault... Sauter was drunk while off duty and threatened to kill himself during an argument with his wife just before midnight on March 12. When he tried to open a safe holding multiple guns, his wife tore the electronic keypad off the safe in an attempt to keep him from opening it, and left the house with her two children. She told officers at the scene that she was fearful Sauter would kill her and the kids before taking his own life... Sauter’s wife, Patricia, said she does not remember telling officers that she felt her life was in danger, and notes that her husband never threatened her verbally. “At the end of the day, really, it was a drunken argument that got way out of hand,” Patricia Sauter said. Though she was bumped towards the wall during the struggle over the gun safe, she said, it was unintentional... “Cops, male or female, they’re human, and we all have human difficulties,” Patricia Sauter said. “He was off duty and he didn’t hurt anybody other than himself.” Joel Sauter, a 12-year veteran of the Laurel Police Department and its senior patrol officer, has been on paid administrative leave since the incident. Laurel Police Chief Rich Musson said he hopes Sauter will soon be allowed to return to service. Laurel Mayor Ken Olson and City Attorney Sam Painter are reviewing whether Sauter should be returned to duty... Under the plea agreement, if Joel Sauter completes 25 hours of counseling, pays a fine and court fees totaling $470 and abides by other conditions, the assault charge will be dismissed in December. Billings Deputy City Attorney Teague Westrope said the agreement was a good resolution of the case, which was complicated by Patricia Sauter’s unwillingness to cooperate with prosecutors, as well as the difficulty of establishing that Joel Sauter purposefully or knowingly caused her fear... [Full article here]


Since last post:

LAUREL POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED ON CHARGE OF ASSAULTING WIFE
KTVQ News
By Amanda Venegas
Mar 19, 2010
A Laurel police officer is in custody for allegedly assaulting his wife at his Billings home last Friday night. The incident happened just before midnight at 4537 Phillips Street. Officers arrived at the home and found a woman who said she was assaulted by her husband. That man was later identified as Joel Sauter, a 12-year veteran and senior patrolman for the Laurel Police Department. Billings police report that Sauter was intoxicated, refused to come out of his home, and was possibly armed with a handgun. Law enforcement from Billings Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office and the Laurel Police Department tried negotiate with Sauter. About an hour and a half later, he came out of the home without incident. Laurel Police Chief Rick Musson described Sauter as an "exemplary employee." "We are all human, things happen. Even though we know that the public puts us on a different pedestal, a higher pedestal even, we put ourselves on a higher pedestal. But the fact of the matter remains that we are all human and things happen in our lives. And we as a family of Laurel PD are here to support all of our members. So we're concerned for officer Sauter and his family during this trying time," Chief Musson said. Musson says Sauter is on administrative leave until further notice. Sauter is being held at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on a partner family member assault charge. [LINK]

UPDATE: 
I-SPY LAUREL POLICE OFFICER JOEL SAUTER BACK AT WORK

Driver cited in three-vehicle fender-bender, no injuries
Laurel Outlook
by Jennifer Ries
November 30, 2011
According to Laurel Police Officer Joel Sauter, at approximately 10:06 am. Wednesday, a red and black Ford pickup truck was traveling eastbound on Southeast Fourth Street when the driver slowed to make a left turn to the Cedar Ridge Casino...
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