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Man sent to prison after calling 911 to admit sexual assault of 13-year-old

Crime Watch

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Leroy Milton Cotterell | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A man who called 911 in October to report he’d sexually abused a 13-year-old relative was sentenced to prison Wednesday.

District Judge Bruce Pickett sentenced 46-year-old Leroy Milton Cotterell to between six and 25 years in prison for felony lewd conduct with a child. Cotterell was arrested after police responded to his home and he told them he needed to turn himself in. He told police he had abused a handicap 13-year-old girl in a shed on several occasions, according to court documents.

He was charged with two felony counts of lewd conduct and felony sex abuse of a child, but two of the charges were dropped after he agreed to plead guilty to one count of felony lewd conduct.

On Wednesday, Defense Attorney Jordan Crane asked Pickett to sentence Cotterell to two to 10 years in prison with a rider program. Crane cited Cotterell’s decades-long relationship with methamphetamine as a mitigating factor in the case. Crane said the 307 days Coterell spent in jail after he was arrested is the longest he’s been sober. He said his client is now willing to accept help for his addiction and put “his money where his mouth is.”

RELATED: Man arrested after he calls 911 saying he had sex with 13-year-old

“Given everything the retained jurisdiction would be appropriate,” Crane said.

A pre-sentencing investigation and psychosexual evaluation said differently. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alex Muir said evaluators recommended Cotterell spend time in prison, despite it being his first felony charge. Muir cited one evaluation that listed Cotterell as a “very high risk” to reoffend. Additionally, during a polygraph evaluation, Cotterell disclosed four other victims, but polygraph results show he did not disclose all of them.

Muir asked Pickett to sentence Cotterell to 10 to 25 years in prison without the chance of a rider.

Cotterell told Picket he wanted to say he had turned himself in and has cried every day since his arrest.

“I just wanted to do what was right,” Cotterell said in court.

Pickett said Cotterell needed to give himself credit for turning himself in, but the facts show he still sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl with mental disabilities.

“Whether she pushed it or you pushed it is completely irrelevant,” Pickett said. “In this case you are the adult. She is a 13-year-old girl with mental disabilities, it’s completely inappropriate.”

Pickett gave Cotterell credit for the 307 days he spent in jail. Cotterell will have to pay $3,450 in fees and fines and pay for the victim’s counseling cost.

Once released Cotterell will have to register as a sex offender.