Deborah Suzanne Young

Deborah Suzanne Young

POCATELLO — A local woman is facing up to life in prison for allegedly sexually abusing an inmate at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center while they were both incarcerated at the facility, according to court records.

Deborah Suzanne Young, 25, of Pocatello, was charged on Feb. 11 with one felony count of forcible penetration by use of a foreign object for allegedly sexually abusing a fellow inmate “against her will by use of force or violence,” at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 15, 2020, according to court records the Idaho State Journal obtained on Wednesday.

According to an affidavit of probable cause document, which prosecutors use to levy charges against an alleged perpetrator, an Idaho State Police detective interviewed Young and the alleged victim at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center on Dec. 18, 2020.

The alleged victim described to the detective an incident that occurred in January 2020 involving Young forcing an unwanted sex act upon her, court records say.

When the detective interviewed Young, she stated that she did force herself on the alleged victim even though she acknowledged she was asked numerous times to stop, according to court records. Young stated she ignored the alleged victim’s pleas for her to stop and confirmed the incident occurred in January 2020, court records say.

Young was subsequently charged with the felony forcible penetration by use of a foreign object on Feb. 11 and transferred from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center to the Bannock County Jail where she remains incarcerated to await the adjudication of the new criminal case, according to court records.

Young was incarcerated at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center in June 2019 after having been found in violation of her felony probation in April 2019. Young was first sentenced to serve seven years of felony probation in March 2018 as part of a plea bargain with Bannock County prosecutors, court records say.

In May 2017, Young, who was 21 years old at the time, was charged with one felony count of rape in Bannock County after becoming pregnant following sexual intercourse with a then-16-year-old boy, according to court records.

In December 2017, Bannock County Prosecutors dismissed the rape charge and filed a felony injury to a child charge against Young in its place in relation to the plea bargain, according to court records. She subsequently pleaded guilty to the felony injury to a child charge that same month.

In March 2018, Sixth District Judge Robert Naftz imposed a unified nine-year prison sentenced against Young, of which she would have had to serve two years incarcerated before being eligible for parole. However, Naftz suspended the prison time and instead placed Young on felony probation for seven years, court records say.

In March 2019, Young was found to have violated the conditions of her probation for, among several issues, engaging in sexual intercourse with peers of her sexual abuse treatment program, according to court records.

In April 2019, Naftz revoked her probation and restored the unified nine-year prison term but also retained jurisdiction in the case, court records say.

Also known as a “rider,” a prison sentence with retained jurisdiction required Young to receive intensive programming and education regarding sexual abuse treatment while incarcerated at an Idaho Department of Correction facility for a period of up to one year.

If Young was found to have successfully completed the rider program, the sentencing judge has the option to order her to be released from Idaho Department of Correction custody and placed on probation for the remainder of the imposed prison term. If found to have been unsuccessful in the program, the judge can relinquish the retained jurisdiction and order Young serve the remainder of her sentence in a state penitentiary.

On Feb. 20, 2020, Naftz relinquished the retained jurisdiction and reinstated the unified nine-year prison term, according to court records. Young, according to the Idaho Department of Correction, had a parole hearing scheduled in June of this year before being charged with the felony forcible penetration charge. Her entire nine-year sentence would have been satisfied in February 2028.

Young was first arraigned on the felony forcible penetration charge in front of 6th District Judge David Hooste on March 24, during which her bond was set at $10,000. However, due to the underlying prison term, even if Young posts the $10,000 bond she will not be released from Idaho Department of Correction custody.

On Tuesday, Young’s court-appointed attorney, Jay Fuson of the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office, filed a motion asking that Young undergo a competency evaluation to ascertain her capacity to assist with her own defense after concerns arose regarding her recollection and comprehension abilities, according to court records.

Judge Hooste approved the motion on Wednesday and scheduled a hearing to review the findings of the competency evaluation on May 5.

If convicted of the felony forcible penetration charge, Young faces up to life in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.