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Bozeman tattoo artist facing multiple sexual assault charges

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 05, 2024

BOZEMAN — A Bozeman tattoo artist is facing multiple sexual assault charges stemming from an investigation that began in July 2023.

According to court documents, on July 20, 2023 a former girlfriend of Austin Kanouse, the owner of Gold Thorn Tattoo in Bozeman, told a Bozeman Police detective that Kanouse had nonconsensual sex with her multiple times during their relationship between September 2022 and the end of November 2022.

The victim also reportedly told police that Kanouse, also known as "Auzzy", would record them having sex without her consent and did so to one of her friends, as well. Court documents state the victim found videos of Kanouse having sex with other women on his work iPad.

The victim reportedly described Kanouse as a “very aggressive, scary guy” and said he showed up at her house uninvited and unannounced when she ended the relationship.

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Kanouse allegedly told the victim she couldn’t break up with him and had sex with her; the victim said Kanouse became physically aggressive each time she told him no, leaving her with bite marks and bruises.

Court documents say the victim decided to come forward because she didn’t want anyone to go through the same experience with Kanouse.

On July 25, detectives executed a search warrant on Gold Thorn and recovered an iPad and iPhone. Kanouse reportedly provided the password for his devices after refusing to speak to law enforcement without an attorney present.

Detectives allegedly found a video from Dec. 27, 2022 of Kanouse having sex with an unidentified woman who appeared unconscious and unable to give consent.

On July 28, 2023, the Bozeman Police Department published a Facebook post, stating:

“Detectives are trying to identify any possible victims and/or witnesses in regard to an ongoing sex crime investigation with a local tattoo artist.”

According to court documents, Bozeman Police received several voicemails in response to the post. Two women alleged that Kanouse raped them after a party celebrating Gold Thorn’s anniversary in February 2022.

Both women said Kanouse gave them alcohol throughout the night and they became too intoxicated to give consent.

Detectives also heard from a tattoo artist who used to work with Kanouse at Gold Thorn. She claims Kanouse behaved inappropriately with clients, groping them and making them take off more clothes than necessary while giving them tattoos.

Court documents say the tattoo artist confronted Kanouse about his behavior which led to him choking her as the argument escalated.

Kanouse is facing two felony counts of sexual intercourse without consent, a felony count of aggravated assault, and one misdemeanor count of sexual assault.

Kanouse is not currently in custody, and Gold Thorn remains open.

An initial court appearance for Kanouse is set for April 29, 2024.