NewsCrime and Courts


Lockwood school trustee resigns after arrest on sex crime charges

Joseph Leonard Borgstrom
Lockwood Schools posted the following message on Facebook on Sunday morning
Crime Watch
Posted at 7:14 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 21:44:36-04

BILLINGS — Joseph Leonard Borgstrom, who resigned last week from his position as a Lockwood Schools board trustee, is in jail in Yellowstone County, charged with felony rape and sexual assault.

According to the Yellowstone County Detention Center inmate roster, Borgstom was booked into jail on Friday, May 7.

Lockwood Schools Superintendent Tobin Novasio confirmed that Borgstrom was a trustee of the school board up until recently. Borgstrom notified Lockwood schools on Friday that he was resigning from his position as a school board trustee, a position he’s held for seven years, according to Novasio.

Court documents state an investigation revealed that Borgstrom allegedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl. The victim was taken to Billings Clinic for a medical evaluation.

Prosecutors allege Borgstrom penetrated the young girl with a sex toy that was found by detectives in a locked gun safe in Borgstrom’s home after a search warrant was obtained.

Novasio said Monday that school board trustees are elected, and because of that, background checks are not conducted on them. There is no word at this point on whether Borgstrom has a criminal history.

Novasio also pointed out that while trustees do make decisions on policy and staffing, they do not have more access to students. He says the district plans to work with the Montana School Association on an audit and review to make sure there are set policies in place to ensure safety for students. “We know that parents are entrusting us with the most precious thing, and we take that seriously,” he said.

Lockwood Schools posted the following message on Facebook on Sunday morning:

Lockwood School District is aware of the allegations related to the personal conduct of a former member of the Board of Trustees. We have refrained from making a public statement regarding this case to this point in an effort to protect the anonymity of the possible victim or victims.
Following a verbal resignation, the former trustee’s term of service officially ceases on May 11, 2021, when the Board will reorganize and seat newly-elected trustees. In accordance with School District policy, the former trustee will not be present at or have access to School District property and will not interact with students or staff.
The School District takes this matter seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, the School District has initiated a review of the former trustee’s conduct to determine if the former trustee violated any law or policy while serving in his official capacity or in any personal capacity.
All students and staff will have access to support services to provide needed assistance on matters stemming from these allegations.
The School District and its leadership team will continue to coordinate and cooperate with law enforcement and other officials to ensure the School District preserves and maintains a safe and secure learning environment.

Borgstrom, 61 years old, faces felony charges of sexual intercourse without consent and sexual assault. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Yellowstone County District Court on Tuesday.