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Helena-area man found guilty of repeatedly raping child

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A Helena-area man was found guilty Thursday on eight different counts for repeatedly raping a child younger than 12. 

The jury returned guilty verdicts against Robert Michael Arellano on six counts of sexual intercourse without consent, one count of sexual abuse of children and one count of tampering with a witness.

The jury deliberated for just two hours before delivering the verdicts at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

What was scheduled to be a five-day trial concluded a day early as witnesses were questioned more quickly than anticipated, Deputy Clerk of Court and Bailiff Farrah Looney said Friday. Looney added that jury selection, a procedure that typically lasts a day, was completed early, and two witnesses took the stand the same day.

Arellano, who had been held in the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center during the trial, was remanded back to the jail.

His sentencing is slated for Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. The district court ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to be conducted.

Court documents state that the crimes occurred between January 2019 and July 2020. Law enforcement first responded to reports of a sexual assault on Aug. 22. The complainant told police that her child said a friend was being raped by Arellano, an acquaintance of the victim.

The witness told officers that the victim said the assaults had been happening for more than a year. The witness also told officers the victim kept a journal of all the sexual contact and showed the witness sex toys that Arellano used.

Authorities later located the victim's journal, which confirmed five dates and times the abuse occurred, and the sex toys the victim had described to the witness.

The victim told police that the abuse had been occurring for several years and that Arellano had filmed the abuse at least once on his cellphone.

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Local Government and Crime Reporter

Nolan Lister is a reporter at the Helena Independent Record with an emphasis on local government and crime.

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