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Idaho Falls man who fled the law sent to prison for lewd conduct with teen

Crime Watch

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Robert Richey | Madison County Jail

REXBURG — A judge sent an Idaho Falls man to prison Tuesday for committing lewd acts with a teenage girl at least five times at local motels.

Robert Richey III, 53, pleaded guilty in August to felony lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16 as part of a plea agreement. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a felony child sex abuse charge.

During Tuesday’s hearing, District Judge Stevan Thompson sentenced Richey to between eight and 20 years in prison with credit for the 21 months he has already spent in jail.

Richey will have to register as a sex offender.

Police said Richey met the then 14-year-old victim back in 2017 while he was homeless. The girl’s family let Richey live with them temporarily. Former Rexburg Police Capt. Randy Lewis told in 2018 that during that time Richey groomed the girl and committed sex acts with her at a Motel 6 in Rexburg and Idaho Falls.

RELATED: I.F. man arrested for lewd conduct after leading officers on chase in Wyoming

Authorities were alerted on Feb. 23, 2018, after Richey told the girl’s mother about the sexual activity. Police then pinged Richey’s phone in Bondurant, Wyoming. That night, two Sublette County, Wyoming deputies spotted Richey’s vehicle while attempting to locate him.

Robert Richey was arrested in 2018 by Sublette County, Wyoming law enforcement. | Courtesy Sublette County Sheriff’s Office

Richey saw the deputies and sped off, initiating a high-speed pursuit before crashing near the entrance to Hoback Canyon, according to a Sublette County news release. Richey then jumped out of the vehicle and ran away while holding a handgun.

Deputies used night vision equipment to locate Richey and trackers followed his footprints in the snow until he was arrested around 1:40 a.m. He had been exposed to temperatures of between -12 and -16 degrees for about three hours and was transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for treatment.

After being released from the hospital he was transported to Madison County where he remained in jail for almost two years before being sentenced.

Thompson also ordered Richey to pay $2,545.50 in fees and fines.