Lewd conduct suspect pleads guilty

SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man accused of molesting two girls pleaded guilty Monday to a slightly amended charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor.

Lewd conduct is punishable by a lifelong prison sentence. A pretrial settlement agreement in John Theodore Cook’s case, however, recommends a five- to 15-year prison term. The court is not required to adopt the recommended sentence and Cook’s counsel is free to argue for a lesser sentence.

Cook, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21. He is free on bond while the case is pending.

Cook engaged in lewd conduct with two girls in the early 2000s, when they were between the ages of 8 and 10, and 10 and 12, respectively. He was originally charged with two counts of lewd conduct.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the two charges were rolled into a single lewd conduct charge incorporating both victims. In exchange for a plea to the amended charge, the state agreed not to file additional charges based on information that surfaced during the criminal investigation.

If Cook declined to accept the agreement and forced the state to proceed to a preliminary hearing, the state informed Cook that it would amend the charging information to reflect “all incidents of sexual conduct,” court records show.

Cook pleaded guilty during his arraignment in 1st District Court. Judge Steve Verby accepted plea as being entered knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently, according to court documents.

A presentence investigation is pending and Cook will be required to submit to a full-disclosure polygraph examination.

The allegations against Cook surfaced publicly last fall. One of the alleged victims disclosed the sexual abuse after her family relocated out of state, probable cause hearing testimony indicates.

Read More News

Greek authorities begin evacuation of Idomeni refugee camp

AP

May 23, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Greek authorities have begun an operation to gradually evacuate the country's largest informal refugee camp of Idomeni, on the Greek-Macedonian border, where more than an estimated 8,400 people have...

Read More

Obama's Hiroshima visit stirs differing views across Pacific

AP

May 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm | President Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima later this week _ the first sitting American president to do so _ is stirring very different reactions from survivors on opposite sides of the Pacific

Read More

Winning numbers drawn in 'Lucky For Life' game

AP

May 23, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Winning numbers drawn in 'Lucky For Life' game

Read More

ID Lottery

AP

May 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm | ID Lottery

Read More