In Ravalli County District Court on Friday morning, former Florence doctor Chris Christensen was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 suspended.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said the case against Christensen began with over 400 counts, but were reduced to 11 patients.

“He was charged with and convicted by the jury of 22 felonies, two negligent homicides, nine counts of criminal endangerment and 11 charges of prescribing prescription medication outside the scope of a medical practice,” Fulbright began. “He will remain free on the $200,000 bond he posted pending an appeal of his sentence, and is ordered to stay within Ravalli and Missoula Counties.”

Fulbright had asked for a 50 year prison term.

“My concern is for the impact that these crimes had on the victims and their families, the community,” he said. “The judge acknowledged the wide rippling effect on the community that the ready supply of opiates had. I have mirror image feelings. I’m pleased to see on behalf of all those folks that these crimes have been punished by a prison sentence. On behalf of those same folks, though, I am disappointed that the sentence is not being carried out immediately, as it is in almost every case.”

Fulbright said he was thankful for the cooperation and assistance of the medical community in the case against Christensen.

“It’s the medical community that actually spoke out and it was their reports to law enforcement that began the process of narrowing down what the problem was,” he said.

“Thankfully, there are safeguards in place with thoughtful, methodical practitioners, and that was what was absent here.”

While his case is being appealed, Christensen’s license to practice medicine has been suspended.