Man sentenced to 5 years for abusing his 6-year-old who has Down syndrome

A man arrested last year for burning his daughter with a lighter was sentenced to five years with the Montana Department of Corrections.

Blaine K. Startin Jr., 45, appeared in Yellowstone County District Court on Oct. 2 and was sentenced by District Court Judge Gregory Todd to a five-year commitment with the Department of Corrections.

The sentence will run concurrent with a drug possession sentence for the same duration.

Startin pleaded no contest in June to a felony charge of assaulting a minor after the girl’s mother noticed burns on the girl’s neck after the girl, who was 6 at the time, returned from a weekend with Startin and his girlfriend. Startin told the girl’s mother the injuries were caused by the girl playing with her 3-year-old sister.

Later, while she was bathing the girl, her mother noticed more burns, which were hidden by her clothes. The girl has a Down syndrome diagnosis, according to court documents.

Amber Reynolds, Startin’s girlfriend of four years, and Startin were the girl’s only caretakers during the time she sufferedher injuries.

Reynolds pleaded no contest to attempting to commit obstruction of justice and was sentenced to a 10-year commitment to the department of corrections, with five of those years suspended for the abuse of the girl, according to court documents.

Startin has two previous partner or family member assault convictions and was accused in 2013 of abusing Reynolds after she gave one of their children cake, according to court records. Reynolds later rescinded her complaint and the charges were dismissed without prejudice.