June 1, 2012
The stepmother of three Belgrade children who were taken by their father to the Bahamas on a sailboat against custody orders pleaded guilty in Gallatin County District Court today.
Angela Bryant pleaded guilty to one count of parenting interference by accountability. As part of the plea agreement, Judge Mike Salvagni dismissed two more counts of parenting interference by accountability, all felony charges.
Salvagni accepted her plea and set sentencing for July 9 at 1:30 p.m. In addition, Salvagni released Bryant on her own recognizance. She is under supervision and has to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. She’s ordered to stay in the state of Montana until her sentencing.
Court documents filed in Gallatin County say Bryant and her husband, James, failed to return his three children to their mother in Belgrade last August.
Court documents state that Angela purchased plane tickets for the three children from Miami, Florida to Bozeman to arrive on Aug. 17, 2011, but the children were not on the flight.
Court documents charging Angela also quote an email that Angela reportedly wrote to her son that says, “By the time we got them for the summer, there weren’t many ways to fight the custody thing without going back to Montana. We had thought we would be able to envoke the thing about the child being able to choose once they turned 14 but apparently, MT doesn’t do that any longer. We were told we would have to send them back home then start an investigation into Kelly before they could do anything to assist or charge parental custody. That just isn’t acceptable…”
Earlier this year, police tracked computer IP addresses and found that James was living in the Bahamas with Angela and his three children. They were able to serve a warrant when they learned that Angela flew into Hawaii. The U.S. Coast Guard pursued Bryant’s boat within a half-mile of international waters and arrested James in March. The children were then reunited with their mother, Kelly.
James Bryant has pleaded guilty to one count of parental interference. He’s scheduled for sentencing in June.
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