HELENA – A 50-year-old defendant was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for sexually assaulting a child last year.

Scott Alan Cook was arrested in 2016 for having sexual contact with a three-year-old child.

The girl disclosed the alleged abuse to her mother, including a description of a sex toy Cook allegedly used.

When the disclosure took place, the victim’s mother ordered Cook to leave their home. When the victim was told Cook was out of the home, she allegedly said she thought Cook was out buying another sex toy.

Story continues below

Following a one week trial and a day and a half of jury deliberation, Cook was convicted of felony sexual assault.

Cook maintained his innocence during the trial as well as during Tuesday’s sentencing.

“I can’t believe I’m accused and convicted of this,” Cook said during his sentencing hearing. “I would lay down my life for any child.”

“I still don’t understand how a guilty verdict was reached. Many people know I am not guilty,” said Cook.

A relative of the victim provided the court with a few brief remarks at the hearing, addressed to Cook.

“I pray you set some kind of sentence,” the family member said. “When you walk out of this courtroom you are dead to me.”

Judge Mike McMahon sentenced Cook to 60 years in the state prison and ordered him to register as a Tier-1 sex offender.

McMahon told Cook he handed down the sentence in the best interest of the community and for the safety of the young victim in the case.

The sentence means the victim in the case will be 18 years old by the time Cook is eligible for parole.