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A prosecutor balked at a man’s request Monday that he be released from jail until he’s sentenced for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, saying he skipped the last hearing and assaulted police in Great Falls four days later.

In a hearing that lasted three minutes, District Judge Robert Whelan balked too, denying bail for 32-year-old Matthew Joseph Rodriguez.

“There is no bail, there is no release,” Whelan said, sending Rodriguez back to jail pending sentencing now set for March 13.

Rodriguez is accused of sexually assaulting the girl on at least three occasions in Butte between April and June 2015.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty in October to felony sexual assault of the girl. It was part of a plea agreement that reduced his charge from sexual intercourse without consent to sexual assault, but he can still be sentenced up to life in prison or 100 years.

Rodriguez didn’t show up for sentencing on Dec. 19 and four days later, he was arrested and charged in Cascade County for assaulting police officers as they tried to arrest him on the bench warrant from Butte.

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Walter Hennessey, Rodriguez’s public defender in the Butte case, asked Whelan to set his client free pending sentencing. He had a place to stay, Hennessey said, and was willing to report to a probation officer every day.

Prosecutor Samm Cox scoffed at the request, saying Rodriquez was wearing an ankle monitor the last time but simply cut it off and went to Great Falls instead of showing up for sentencing. He asked Whelan to deny the request, which he did.

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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