Prison ordered in child abuse case

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SANDPOINT — A Spirit Lake man accused of sexually abusing a minor in Bonner County over a four-year period has a chance at dodging a lengthy prison term.

First District Judge John T. Mitchell ordered Roy Lewis Baldwin on Monday to serve five to 25 years in prison, but retained jurisdiction over the defendant for up to one year. During that time, Baldwin will be imprisoned and offered sexual offender counseling.

Also, Baldwin was ordered to submit to a full-disclosure polygraph exam and a psychosexual evaluation, which will be used by the court to determine whether he should be placed on probation or further incarcerated.

Baldwin was ordered to undergo a psychosexual evaluation after entering his plea, but the evaluation was not done prior to sentencing, prompting his defense counsel, Sandpoint attorney Bruce Greene, to move for sentencing to be postponed.

But Mitchell declined the motion, ruling that Idaho law does not require such an evaluation in order to be sentenced. Mitchell added that it was unlikely that the evaluation would affect his sentencing decision, court records show.

Baldwin, 66, was accused of sexually abusing the girl from 2008 to 2012, when she was between the ages of 6 and 10. Baldwin’s misconduct allegedly rose to the level of lewd and lascivious, but that allegation was withdrawn in exchange for a plea of guilt.

“I made a very bad decision and I can assure you that this will never happen again,” Baldwin said.

There was statement from the victim about the impact Baldwin’s misconduct had on her.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall recommended a two- to 10-year term with retained jurisdiction, partly due to Baldwin’s cooperation with authorities.

Greene urged the court to impose a suspended prison term and incarcerate Baldwin at the Bonner County Jail so his client could do outpatient sexual offender treatment, court records indicate. Greene emphasized that Baldwin is remorseful and had no prior criminal record.

Although the court adopted the retained jurisdiction recommendation, Mitchell imposed a considerably longer underlying prison term due to the severe and repetitive nature of the offenses.

Mitchell also noted that there were still discrepancies between the victim’s version of events compared to that of the defendant, prompting the order for a polygraph examination.

Mitchell found that Baldwin was remorseful, but also that his conduct was “unbelievable.” As a result, Mitchell declined to impose a sentence that was largely probationary.

“I have to protect the public,” said Mitchell, who pointed out that Baldwin had yet to spend a day behind bars.

Mitchell said Baldwin could be released on probation if he is deemed at low risk of re-offending, but warned him that he could expect to face additional imprisonment if his re-offense risk was found to be moderate or high, court records show.

Baldwin was also fined $5,000 and ordered to register as a sex offender.

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