GREAT FALLS, Mont. — County officials have suspended a northern Montana sheriff after state authorities say he violated law by distributing confidential investigative materials last year.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the Pondera County Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to suspend Sheriff Carl Suta after the state Attorney General’s Office charged him with official misconduct last week.

Authorities say Suta gave confidential criminal justice information to a father involved in a child protective case.

The commission suspended Suta with pay pending the outcome of the case. Undersheriff Bill Gobert will serve as sheriff during the suspension.

Suta told the Tribune on Thursday that he was withdrawing his bid for re-election and would not return to law enforcement.

Suta must forfeit the office if he’s convicted. Suta is also awaiting trial in a domestic abuse case filed last year.

Information from: Great Falls Tribune,

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