Woman pleads not guilty to sex crimes with teenage boys who would skip school to be with her
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ARCO — A Soda Springs woman opted to take her case to a jury Tuesday after she pleaded not guilty to sex crimes involving multiple teenagers.
Amanda Katherine Steele, 34, appeared in a Butte County District Court for her arraignment on three felony counts of child sexual battery committed by lewd conduct following an investigation that began in 2017. Law enforcement’s investigation led to multiple teenage boys saying they engaged in sexual activity with Steele in 2016 with one encounter allegedly recorded on camera.
Although the victims considered the sexual conduct consensual, prosecutors charged Steele because, under Idaho law, a minor who is 16 and 17 cannot consent to sex with adults five or more years older than them.
The investigation stalled in the spring of 2018 with the reported victims, Steele and others not giving specific answers during interviews. Following a divorce, Steele’s ex-husband contacted deputies in July 2019 saying Steele admitted to him she had sex with the underage boys. He told investigators that in an earlier interview, he was more concerned about saving their marriage than telling them the truth.
Investigators spoke with one of the teenagers again in 2019, and he admitted to having sex with Steele while underage. One said he used a GoPro camera to record one of the sexual encounters, but the computer with the file was destroyed. He told investigators he would skip school and Latter-day Saint seminary and go to Steele’s home to have sex.
“(The victim) told me he knew several of his friends had sex with her too, but didn’t know anyone else besides (a second victim) had been under 18,” a deputy wrote in his report.
Since Steele moved to Soda Springs by the time of her arrest in November 2019, Caribou County deputies booked her into their jail on a warrant. She posted the $50,000 bond.
A jury trial for Steele is set to begin June 10 in Butte County.
If she is convicted, each charge holds a maximum sentence of life in prison.