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63-year-old man accused of sexually battering teen

Crime Watch

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Custer County Courthouse | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

CHALLIS — A Chubbuck man is alleged to have sexually battered a teen at a Custer County campground.

Jeffrey John Chandler, 63, is charged with felony sexual battery of a minor, a crime punishable by up to 25-years in prison if convicted. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Chandler allegedly groped the teenager, who was known to him, at the Wildhorse campground in June.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office first got a call in July from a California Police Department regarding a possible sexual assault. According to court documents, the California officer told Idaho investigators the 17-year-old victim disclosed Chandler offered her money for sex acts. During their interview, the victim, who is an eastern Idahoan, also told of the alleged groping at the Idaho campground.

Custer County investigators contacted another eastern Idaho police department who interviewed the alleged victim in the community she lives in. The teen told investigators Chandler gives her alcohol and marijuana and often has sexual conversations with her. Chandler convinced her the conversations were confidential and he was using her as a “therapist,” according to court documents.

The victim said while at the Idaho campground, she awoke to find Chandler touching the inside of her leg. When confronting Chandler about the incident, he reportedly said a dog tried jumping on her and he was trying to keep the dog off.

Deputies spoke with Chandler, but he declined to talk and handed over his lawyer’s phone number. The Sheriff’s Office got no response after repeated calls to the lawyer.

Custer County Prosecutor Justin Oleson filed the felony charge in March and a summons was issued for Chandler to appear in court. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 12.

Although Chandler is charged with a crime it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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