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Idaho Falls man sentenced for child sex abuse, child porn

December 12, 2018 GMT

An Idaho Falls man who was arrested in March was sentenced Wednesday to up to 15 years in prison for his relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

Jerry Ewell, 37, was charged with sexual abuse of a minor after the abuse was reported to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. Ewell admitted to the abuse, saying he and the victim had sex several times at his home and at a storage unit.

Both attorneys said Ewell had tried to withdraw his confession and was considering going to trial to argue the confession was coerced. Ewell sought a plea deal after five additional charges were filed for possession of child pornography based on photos and videos the victim sent to his phone.

Defense attorney Jason Gustaves said Ewell never forced the victim into sex and had no criminal history.

Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said the abuse lasted for months. He argued Ewell needed a longer indeterminate sentence because of the impact on the victim and his deceptive behavior.

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District Judge Bruce Pickett sentenced Ewell to two-and-a-half years in prison as a minimum for both the sexual abuse and child pornography charges, to be served concurrently. Ewell was given a maximum of five years for the child porn charge and up to 15 years for the sexual abuse charge. Four other charges of possession of child sexually exploitative material were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

The no-contact order between Ewell and the victim was extended an additional 20 years. Ewell will be required to register as a sex offender when released.