Man sent to prison for sexually abusing teen but maintains he did ‘not commit the crimes’
REXBURG — A convicted felon formally living in Sugar City will spend time in prison after a teen claimed he sexually abused her between 60 to 85 times over two years.
On Monday, District Judge Steven Boyce ordered James D. Hill, 31, to spend a maximum of 13 and a-half-years in prison after Hill pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery and felony injury to a child. Prosecutors originally charged Hill with one count of felony child sex abuse by soliciting a minor under 16 and a felony count of lewd conduct with a child, but they were amended as part of an Alford plea agreement.
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.
“Mr. Hill maintains that he did not commit the crimes he was charged with and that he is innocent of wrongdoing in this matter,” defense attorney Sean Bartholick said in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com.
Court documents describe in graphic detail the victim’s accounting of the sexual abuse, which allegedly began in 2014 when the victim was 14 years old, and she was babysitting for Hill. The victim told investigators Hill raped her on a farm and other locations in Madison County.
At one point, she told detectives Hill “wanted to take her to town and have her get some birth control,” according to court documents.
The victim said the sexual abuse from Hill stopped when the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was called to Hill’s home for a dirty house complaint, and the children the victim was babysitting were removed from the home.
Hill is required to serve at least six and a half years of the maximum sentence.