A federal court judge in Helena handed down a life sentence to a Browning man Monday for violently raping a 51-year-old grandmother last year.
This is the third sexual assault conviction for Donald Carl Salois, who also sexually abused his own daughter when she was 3 and a step-daughter when she was 6. He served 10 years in the state prison for those offenses.
In seeking the life term, Laura Weiss with the U.S. Attorney’s office, said this is possibly “one of the most violent offenses the government has encountered in prosecuting cases on the Blackfeet Reservation.”
“He offered a ride to a vulnerable woman in the middle of February, when it was cold outside,” Weiss told U.S. District Court Sam Haddon. “He took her, not to her home, but drove outside a housing area, parked the car, opened the passenger side door and forcibly raped her.”
Weiss also read a statement written by Salois’ daughter, who asked that he never be released from custody for the safety of the public.
“Not only is he a repeat offender, but each crime has become more violent in nature and I fear he will kill someone,” the woman wrote. “He’s brought shame to my family time and time again.”
Salois, 49, was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse by a jury in January. He has been incarcerated since his arrest in August 2012.
During a 2012 psychosexual evaluation, a therapist determined that Salois was unable to take any responsibility for his “sex deviant problems” and was “resistant to treatment.” Haddon noted on Monday that Salois’ continued to be unrepentant for his conduct and his unwillingness to explain himself or his actions left the judge without compassion for him.
“You are as dangerous a person in terms of the risk you display to others — that you are to others — that this court has ever had before it,” Haddon said. “Anything less than absolute incapacitation would be less than warranted. … The public must be protected and you must not be given any opportunity to harm any others.”
Salois’ attorney, Mayo Ashley, asked for a sentence of 30 years or less, which was at the lower end of the guideline range. He noted that the sexual assaults of the young girls occurred in 1988 and 1993, when Salois was in his 20s, and computed that a life sentence would cost taxpayers at least $866,790.
That didn’t sway Haddon.
“It will cost the taxpayers of this great republic to keep you in prison, and that’s money well spent,” Haddon said. “There are times when taxpayer dollars should be spent to ensure the public is protected, and this is one of those times.”
Because there’s no sentence reduction for “good time” in federal prison, it’s likely Salois will spend the rest of his life behind bars.