FRUITLAND — A former Fruitland police officer who pleaded guilty to four felony sex crimes involving teenage boys earlier this year could face up to a decade behind bars.
On May 22, Alexander Plaza, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years fixed by 3rd District Judge Susan Wiebe, who also retained jurisdiction and granted him a rider program.
In this type of program, Plaza will be incarcerated for up to a year while participating in rehabilitative programming. Upon a successful completion, he could be released from prison and allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence on probation.
As part of a plea agreement, the 25-year-old pleaded guilty in mid-January to three counts of sexual battery by solicitation of a minor aged 16 or 17 and one count of sexual abuse of a child younger than 16 years old. The crimes were said to have occurred between October 2017 and August 2018.
Plaza was arrested in September 2019 following about a three-month investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Initially, he faced eight sex crimes and pleaded not guilty to each charge at his arraignment. But four of the felonies were dropped per the deal with Canyon County prosecutors, who took over the case due to a potential conflict of interest with Payette County investigators.
Fruitland police were made aware of the allegations against Plaza in June 2019. At the time, department asked the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the case.
Records show Plaza worked as a reserve officer for the Fruitland Police Department from April 2015 until November 2018 — when he became a full-time officer. In February 2019, Plaza was placed back on reserve after he failed to meet the department’s fitness requirements. He resigned that June.
The initial criminal complaint filed against Plaza on Aug. 30, 2019 identified the case’s victims only by initials and appeared to list four separate juveniles — at least three of which were boys. Court records state three of the victims were 16 or 17 years old, and a fourth was 15 years old.
Prosecutors said Plaza either asked the boys for intimate pictures or tried to get them to participate in sexual contact with him. He also was accused of sexually abusing the 15-year-old, as well as committing lewd acts with a 17-year-old.