Adult who sexually abused juvenile inmates sentenced to prison

September 13, 2018 GMT

A man who was being treated as a juvenile for sexually abusing others will remain in custody after he was sentenced to prison Tuesday for sexually abusing a minor inmate.

District Judge Gregory Moeller sentenced William Thompson, 20, to three to 12 years in prison, despite recommendations from both the prosecutor and defense that Thompson be sentenced to a rider program.

Moeller said he agonized over the decision because of Thompson’s age.

“It doesn’t help that you’re very young and you look even younger,” the judge said.

Thompson was charged in January with sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of misdemeanor battery after three inmates at the Juvenile Correction Center in St. Anthony reported he had touched them inappropriately.

Despite being an adult, Thompson was held at the juvenile center with boys as young as 12, and was part of a treatment group for minors who have committed sex crimes. Idaho law allows adults to stay in juvenile centers until they’re 21. The victims were 15, 16 and 17 years old at the time of the incidents, which happened in August and December 2017.

According to a Fremont County Sheriff’s Office report, Thompson touched the youngest victim sexually multiple times, including one incident where they touched each other’s genitals. The older victims told investigators Thompson had groped them. Thompson admitted to all three crimes.

The Juvenile Correction Center moved Thompson to a different treatment group after the charges were filed, but he continued to be held with the center’s general population. The center removed him from the general population in February on the same day the Post Register reported Thompson was continuing to have contact with minor victims despite being charged with sexually abusing a child. Thompson was moved to Fremont County Jail in July.

The battery charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. One of the victims, who was transported from the Juvenile Correction Center with an adult supervisor and straps on his legs for security, read a brief statement. He said he was “welcomed with open arms” at the start of his treatment, but he had struggled after Thompson abused him.

“I’ve got a harder time trusting my peers now, and that’s affected my programming,” he said.

Defense Attorney Joshua Garner said his client needed treatment that could be provided with a rider program, and told the judge he could keep Thompson incarcerated after the treatment if needed. Fremont County Prosecutor Marcia Murdock gave the same recommendation.

“I don’t think the answer is to throw him in and throw away the key,” Murdock said.

Moeller noted the plea bargain to recommend a rider program was made before either counsel saw the psychosexual evaluation, which recommended a prison sentence. Moeller said he wondered if Murdock would have agreed to recommend a rider program if she had seen the evaluation. Both Moeller and Murdock described the evaluation as disturbing, and Moeller said it detailed a history of sex crimes Thompson committed against children and animals that would have been felonies if he had been an adult at the time.

“I must tell you sir, it’s not good,” Moeller said. “It’s one of the more serious (psychosexual reports) I’ve ever seen as a judge.”

The presentence investigation report also recommended prison, finding Thompson was a high risk to reoffend. Moeller said the report described Thompson as hedonistic, narcissistic, manipulative, and that he lacks self-awareness.

Moeller said he did not see the need for a rider program, that the evaluations and Thompson’s history left no question he was a sexual predator, and that the threat of incarceration was not a deterrent for him.

“I wonder what that says to the parents of other young people if you were let out of prison,” Moeller said. Thompson was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. He will have the option to undergo sex offender treatment in prison, and will have to register as a sex offender when released.