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Man placed on rider for sexual assault of 12-year-old runaway

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A man originally charged with lewd conduct was sentenced on an amended charge Monday afternoon.

Adrian Jay Kovalsky, 35, was placed on a rider program after pleading guilty in May to felony battery with the intent to commit lewd conduct. The charge says Kovalsky used force to have genital-to-genital contact and or kiss the child with the intent to commit lewd conduct.

Kovalsky received the sentence from District Judge Joel Tingey, who opted to retain jurisdiction in the case with an underlying three to 10-year prison sentence.

A rider program is when a judge sends a person to prison for up to a year to undergo different treatment programs. When the inmate has completed the program, the judge can then decide to send them back to prison or release them on probation.

The case against Kovalsky started as a more serious felony facing a maximum life sentence, but after mediation, Bonneville County prosecutors amended the charge from lewd conduct with a child under 16 to the felony battery charge, which held a maximum 20-year sentence. Prosecutors and defense attorneys also jointly agreed to recommend Kovalsky be placed into a rider program.

Defense attorney R. Bradley Willis described Kovalsky as a man with poor judgment, lacking impulse control, and diagnosed with a variety of mental and physical illnesses. From epilepsy to PTSD and an anti-social disorder, Willis said he had spent a decade of his life using substances like cocaine and alcohol.

“He is crying out for help,” Willis said.

While struggling with a series of criminal charges through multiple states, Kovalsky found himself homeless and living in Idaho Falls. It is there where he came across a 12-year-old girl who ran away from home in early 2019. The girl described to investigators in graphic detail how Kovalsky — who went by the alias “Gypsy” or “Stitches” — sexually assaulted her multiple times over a couple of months.

“I used to love being a happy and innocent child, but this has been taken from me.”

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The victim, who is now a teenager, watched the hearing through a video camera outside of the courtroom while her mother read her victim impact statement in court. The girl described having flashbacks of Kolvasky sexually assaulting her, being preyed upon and never being the same again.

“I used to love being a happy and innocent child, but this has been taken from me,” the statement said in part. “I want others to be safe from his negative actions.”

After being assaulted by Kovalsky, the girl underwent a sexual assault examination. Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alayne Bean described investigators found male DNA inside the victim’s body and Kovalsky’s DNA on the victim’s neck after one of the sexual assaults. While investigators could not determine who the male’s DNA came from, the victim reportedly had no other sexual encounters.

A warrant for Kovalsky’s arrest was issued in November 2019. Before he could be arrested, Kovalsky moved to Connecticut, but police learned of his location in August 2020 and worked to get him extradited. He’s been in the Bonneville County Jail since and has had multiple seizures associated with his epilepsy.

“He certainly has been punished enough by sitting in jail this past year,” Willis said.

Despite having DNA evidence and testimony from the victim, Bean described some challenges with the case. A preliminary hearing that required the testimony of the victim was held, and transcripts are often used in jury trials. However, Bean said the recording of the hearing hit some technical difficulties and could not be transcribed.

One of the reasons for taking the case to mediation was to avoid having to retraumatize the victim by having to testify again at a potential re-run of a preliminary hearing.

Bean described such trauma as “a lifelong sentence for her.”

Before Tingey handing down the sentence, Bean described some details of the psychosexual evaluation and presentencing investigation that she said shows no accountability and puts the blame on the victim.

“I hung out with the wrong person and got arrested,” Kovalsky is reported to have said to evaluators.

Kovalsky did not have much to say in a court other than asking Tingey multiple times for “help.”

“I take responsibly for the actions I committed,” Kovalsky also said.

Before handing down the sentence, Tingey said it was hard to comment on the amended charge.

“Exactly what went on may be a little unsettled,” Tingey said.

In addition to the time on the rider, Kovalsky was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender as ordered by Idaho law.