Sunday, May 22, 2022

Polson man pleads guilty to impersonating a federal agent

Hagadone News Network | January 18, 2022 9:20 AM

LIBBY — A Polson man accused of posing as a federal law enforcement agent while speaking with two young girls has changed his plea in Lincoln County District Court.

Pernell Dionne, 36, pleaded guilty to a single felony count of impersonating a public servant on Dec. 20. His attorney, Scott B. Johnson, told the court he is still arranging for Dionne to undergo a full mental health evaluation at the state hospital and hoped to have that information in time for his sentencing.

Deputies with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested Dionne on Aug. 7 following a report of a man making inappropriate contact with children near a local bridge, court documents state. Deputy Derek Breiland found Dionne sitting on a guardrail.

Dionne allegedly told Breiland that he was sitting beneath a bridge when two girls approached him and offered him food, which he accepted. They seemed uneasy around him, Dionne told Breiland, so he showed them a badge and assured them he was a U.S. marshal and deputy sheriff.

Breiland wrote in an affidavit that Dionne’s alleged connection to law enforcement was fictional.

“The badge is fake, and Dionne is not associated with any law enforcement agency,” Breiland wrote.

Dionne seemed shocked at the revelation, according to Breiland, who seized the badge. Dionne apparently told the deputy that he assumed “he was a cop” because his grandfather was a U.S. Army veteran.

At Dionne’s December change of plea hearing, Johnson told the court he planned to file a motion for a further mental health evaluation and transport.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, they will recommend Dionne receive a five-year commitment to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7.