A 53-year-old Great Falls man has been accused of assaulting his partner at a lodge over Labor Day weekend in Lewis and Clark County.
Timothy Edward Gonser is charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor partner or family member assault (second offense), officials said.
On Oct. 5, the Cascade County Sheriff's Office referred its investigation of the defendant to the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office because it appeared that crimes committed by the defendant had occurred at the Sun River Lodge in rural Lewis and Clark County.
The investigation by CCSO began on Sept. 10, when a sheriff's deputy met the victim at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, where she was hospitalized on Sept. 7. The victim had undergone emergency brain surgery after she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain bleed associated with a subdural hematoma caused by trauma, officials said.
The medical providers determined the woman also had three broken ribs. She had told hospital staff she had a progressive headache, nausea, vomiting and left-sided weakness as well as difficulty breathing. The victim initially reported to her care providers that her injuries resulted form her accidentally injuring herself when she tried to jump onto an ATV parked near the camper she was staying in at the Sun Canyon Lodge over Labor Day weekend.
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During an interview with the lodge owner, a deputy was told that the owner did not observe any ATVs or 4-wheelers parked near victim's camper.
The deputy meeting the woman noticed a U-shaped injury that had several stitches in it on the side of her shaved head. He later obtained hospital records indicating the woman had received life-saving surgery.
The woman was initially reluctant to speak with the deputy, but during a second interview a few hours later she reported that she and the defendant were camping near the lodge with a 6-year-old when she was assaulted. The woman said the defendant had been drinking all day Sept. 5. The defendant and victim began to argue about 9 p.m. in the camper while in the presence of the minor.
According to the woman, the defendant began "smacking" her in the side of the head with an open hand several times. She said she was unsure if the blows caused her to blackout or lose consciousness. She reported that after he hit her in the head he kicked her in the ribs as she was standing in the entryway of the camper.
The victim reportedly didn't feel well after this and the following morning the defendant left and went to Great Falls before returning to the lodge. She reportedly went to the hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.
A child told a social worker the defendant had hit the victim several times. The child also said the defendant gave the victim two black eyes and kicked her in the ribs.
All charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.