AP NEWS

Former Twin Falls police officer sentenced for sexual abuse

June 1, 2018

TWIN FALLS — A former Twin Falls police officer was sentenced Wednesday to up to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls.

William Anthon Jansen pleaded guilty in March to two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 16. He will serve at least two years in prison for each count, but the sentences run concurrently, Judge John Butler said.

Jansen was charged with four counts of lewd conduct with a minor after a teenage girl came forward last March and accused him of sexually abusing her a decade ago, when she was between 7 and 9 years old, along with two other young girls around the same age.

One of the girls has since died; the other told police that Jansen touched her in 2005 and 2006, when she was 8 years old.

A sentencing hearing Wednesday featured statements from the two girls who accused Jansen of abusing them.

“Before all this, I had so much trust,” said one of the victims in her impact statement, which was read aloud by her mother. “I was a young kid. Because of this ... I lost all trust in people.”

“It still confuses me to this day why it had to happen to me,” the other victim told the court. “All we want is for someone that is this sick to get help.”

Jansen himself also spoke at the hearing, delivering a short statement in which he apologized for any pain or distress he may have caused the victims and their families.

“I recognize that this has been a very, very hard thing for their families to go through,” Jansen said. “I’m trying to take responsibility for my actions that I did years ago and trying to make things right at this point.”

The sexual abuse took place before Jansen joined the Twin Falls Police Department. The department had heard rumors of the abuse before hiring Jansen in 2013, but decided to hire him anyway after a background check that included a polygraph test and interview with one of the victims.

Jansen’s jury trial in March was interrupted when the two sides reached a plea agreement, in which Jansen pleaded guilty to abusing one of the living victims and the deceased victim.

“I have no doubt that, but for the plea agreement that arrived after the state addressed it, that the jury would have returned a verdict of guilty on all counts,” Butler said at the sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Prosecuting attorney Kassandra Slaven, deputy prosecutor for Ada County, requested a sentence of five years fixed and 15 years indeterminate for each count of sexual abuse, a total of 10 years in prison. The defense asked for an eight-year sentence with two years fixed for each count.