IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man who pleaded guilty to rape was sentenced to prison Monday.
District Judge Dane Watkins settled on a 15-year probation sentence after considering that Ian Brown, 28, had a mental disability and had already served 10 months in jail.
Neither Brown nor the victim described the sex as forced. Under Idaho law, sexual contact between a minor and an adult more than three years older than the victim is a crime by the adult and can be charged as rape or a sex crime against children.
“These facts present unique circumstances, and that makes this case challenging,” Watkins said.
Brown was arrested in October after he admitted to an Idaho Falls Police Department officer that he sexually assaulted the victim.
Bonneville County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alayne Bean argued for a retained jurisdiction, pointing out that while there were mitigating factors, Brown was already on probation at the time of his arrest.
A presentence investigation concluded Brown should live in a group home and receive treatment for his mental disability. Bean pointed out Brown had rejected living in a group home in the past because there were “too many rules.” She also noted that Brown had trouble meeting the terms of his probation.
Public Defense Attorney Rocky Wixom, however, argued his client should be given another chance at probation given his mental capacity and the fact that the sexual encounter with the victim was not forced by Brown.
Watkins gave Brown an underlying sentence of three to 18 years in prison. If Brown violates the terms of his probation, Watkins may impose the underlying sentence.
Watkins warned Brown that he needed to change his behavior to avoid prison, and added that the main reason he was being released on probation was his mental age.
“Without that, it’s a prison case,” Watkins said.
Brown will be required to register as a sex offender.