Yellowstone County (Billings Gazette) -- A 29-year-old foster father in Yellowstone County has been charged with raping and impregnating his teen foster daughter.

The man, whom The Billings Gazette is not naming to avoid identifying the alleged victim, has pleaded not guilty to a single count of sexual intercourse without consent.

He’s currently being held in jail.

The man initially told police he’d provide a statement but later declined. He then told an employee at a mental health organization that he had had sex with the foster child and it had resulted in a pregnancy, according to charges. He later provided a saliva sample to police, charges state.

The teen was in the man's care for less than three months, according to Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Jacob Yerger. The investigation began in 2018.

Foster parents can be as young as 18, according to the state health department’s policies. The most important requirement for eligibility is the ability to protect and promote children’s well-being, the policies state.

The health department said confidentiality laws prohibit commenting on individual cases or investigations.

"We take all allegations of abuse and neglect seriously," a spokeswoman said.

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