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Former van driver sent to prison for sexually abusing girl with special needs

Crime Watch

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Michael A. Carter | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A judge sent a former van driver to prison for sexually abusing two girls, including a teen with special needs.

Michael A. Carter, 30, was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to felony lewd or lascivious acts with a minor 16 or 17 years old and one felony count of possessing sexually exploitative material. He will serve five to 20 years in prison on the first charge and five to 10 years on the second charge. The sentences will run concurrently.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed a felony lewd conduct with a child under 16 charge and a second count of possessing sexually exploitative material.

District Judge Bruce Pickett ordered Carter to register as a sex offender and pay $2,091 in fees and fines.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Carter had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl with special needs in the back of a transport van at Tautphaus Park. The victim told investigators Carter had sex with her three weeks in a row when he would drive her from physical therapy to her house.

The victim told police Carter wanted to start a family with her once she graduated high school.

RELATED: Van driver charged with sexually abusing 2 girls, including teen with special needs

Police contacted Carter at his home where he admitted to engaging in sexual activity with the victim one time at the park. He permitted detectives to search his phone and social media accounts.

A search of his phone revealed several pornographic images of a teenage girl on his phone. Police identified the girl as a 16-year-old listed in the charges. Carter admitted in an interview he had sex with the girl three to four times since she was 15.

According to court documents, his employer, En Route Transportation, fired him around the time of the investigation.