Montana man accused of brutally raping woman gets probation after wiping off penis at police station
Jerome James Hawley

A Montana man avoided a rape conviction -- and prison -- by wiping evidence from his genitals while being questioned by police.


Jerome James Hawley received an eight-year suspended sentence after agreeing to plead guilty to one felony count of tampering with evidence in the case, reported the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Prosecutors agreed to drop one count of felony sexual intercourse without consent as part of the plea deal, and the court credited the 37-year-old Hawley for 264 days served in the Gallatin County Jail while awaiting trial.

A woman told police in February that Hawley had drugged, beaten and raped her in a hotel room.

A hospital examination found more than 40 injuries on her body that investigators believe were related to the sexual assault -- which the woman claimed Hawley had recorded on his iPhone.

Hawley was briefly questioned at the Law and Justice Center but then asked to stop the interview.

Police left Hawley alone in an interview room while they obtained a search warrant that included swabbing him for DNA evidence.

But officers found when they returned that Hawley had used tissues and a cup of water left in the room to wipe off his genitals.

Prosecutors later said they offered the plea agreement due to problems with the evidence in the case.