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Man accused of sexually abusing teen over two years takes Alford plea

Crime Watch

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James D. Hill | Madison County Jail

REXBURG — A convicted felon who detectives say sexually abused a teenage girl for at least two years pleaded guilty to amended charges Thursday afternoon.

James D. Hill, 30, filed an Alford plea to felony injury to child and felony aggravated battery charges. The charges had been reduced from from one count of child sex abuse with solicitation of a minor under 16 and a count of lewd conduct with a child following a plea agreement made with Madison County Prosecutor Sid Brown.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea where a defendant continues to assert their innocence, but admits a jury would likely find them guilty with the evidence presented.

RELATED | Man accused of sexually abusing teen 60-85 times over 2 years

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the alleged abuse began in 2014 when the victim was 14-years-old. Hill moved into her family’s home after being released from prison. The victim described to investigators in graphic detail how Hill sexually abused her between 60 to 85 times over two years, according to court documents.

Hill eventually moved from the home into a trailer in Sugar City. The victim would babysit younger children living with Hill and was allegedly assaulted during or after the visits.

She told deputies the abuse stopped when the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was called to Hill’s home for a dirty house complaint, which resulted in the children being removed from the trailer.

The plea agreement requires Hill to undergo a psychosexual evaluation before sentencing which is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2020.

In the agreement, the defense will recommend a minimum of five years in prison with credit for time served. They also agreed not to argue for a suspended sentence or a retained jurisdiction, also known as a rider program.

In Idaho individuals charged with felony injury to a child and aggravated battery are not required to register as sex offenders.