A 30-year-old Helena man accused of sexually assaulting a 1-year-old child agreed to plead guilty to a charge of assault on a minor, a felony, Thursday afternoon in Lewis and Clark County District Court.
Michael Charles Haggerty was initially charged with sexual assault and assault on a minor, both felonies, but the former charge was dropped as part of a plea deal.
Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher told District Court Judge Kathy Seeley that he spoke with the victim's mother and that she "endorses the plea agreement."
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Seeley set a sentencing hearing for March 12.
"Given the allegations, I want a presentence investigation," Seeley said from the bench.
On Dec. 11, officers arrested Haggerty for his role in the assault of a child. He said he was tired and frustrated with the child and admitted to hitting the child with an open hand multiple times.
Further investigation showed that the child had injuries in the anal area, according to court documents.
In court Thursday, Haggerty told the judge the child's actions at the time of the offense put that child in danger and that he was acting out of fear, not anger, when he struck the child.