Former Guardsman pleads guilty to sexual abuse of children, fleeing to Europe while on bail

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HELENA, Montana — A former Montana Army National Guard soldier who fled the country to avoid trial has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of children and bail jumping.

The Independent Record reports Jeffrey Lane Wenzel entered his plea Tuesday in District Court in Helena as part of an agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to eight years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors alleged Wenzel enticed a girl under the age of 16 to show him her breasts with the promise that he would buy her a car.

Wenzel was charged in June 2012. Shortly before his trial was to begin in January 2013 he fled the country. He was arrested in Spain in September 2013 after the owner of a bar where he had been working became suspicious of his ever-changing stories.

Information from: Independent Record,

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