HELENA- A Helena man is sentenced to prison for using a cell phone to record an underage girl secretly.

Scott Allen Sperle was sentenced to 30 years in the State Prison with 20 years suspended Thursday morning in Judge Mike Menahan’s court.

Sperle was charged last year with four counts of felony Sexual Abuse of Children, Surreptitious Visual Recordation and Tampering with Evidence after a 13-year old victim found a smartphone in a garbage can recording her in Sperle’s bathroom.

Sperle allegedly took the phone from the victim and erased the recording, claiming there was nothing there.

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Investigators were able to retrieve the recording. It shows Sperle placing the phone in the garbage can and attempting to partially conceal it with toilet paper immediately before the victim used the bathroom.

Investigators said they found numerous still and video of images of what appear to be underage females in Sperle’s possession on some devices, including computers.

The 45-year-old defendant allegedly had images of the victim going back several years.

In a deal with prosecutors, Sperle pleaded guilty to one count of Sexual Abuse of Children earlier this year.

Before sentencing, the victim’s step-father addressed the court, saying before the recordings and images came to light, the victim was a fun-loving and upbeat child who loved photography.

That changed when she found the smart phone recording her.

The victim’s step-father told Judge Menahan that she suffers from PTSD, depression and self-harms. She feels she isn’t important enough for the justice system to care about her, said the step-father.

The victim’s mother read a letter to the court from her daughter’s counselor, detailing her many struggles; anxiety, panic attacks, and major depression.

The mother said her daughter suffers from nightmares every night and lives in fear that Sperle will come to her home and harm her.

The victim’s mother also recounted statements from Sperle to his family, allegedly claiming he’d been framed and that the victim was lying about what took place.

The mother also said Sperle also allegedly told others he didn’t hurt the victim because he never touched her.

The victim’s family told the court they object to the deal, saying Sperle should stay in prison until the victim is out of high school.

Sperle told Judge Mike Menahan, “I’m sorry a million-fold for the things I’ve done. I’d like the chance to prove I’m not this piece of garbage that I am.”

Besides the prison time, Judge Menahan ordered Sperle to register as a Tier 1 sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment.

Sperle will be eligible for parole in 2.5 years.

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