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Man sentenced to rider after sexual relationship with teenage boy

Crime Watch

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REXBURG — A judge sentenced a Teton man to a rider program for having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy he met online.

Russell J. Briggs, 40, will serve an underlying four to a 10-year prison sentence handed down by District Judge Steven Boyce. Briggs pleaded guilty in May to Idaho’s felony statutory rape charge after a 17-year-old boy’s counselor was legally obligated to disclose the teen’s sexual relationship with Briggs.

Under Idaho law, a 16 or 17-year-old cannot legally consent to sex with an adult who is three or more years older.

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.

RELATED | What is a rider?

As part of a plea agreement made with Madison County prosecutors, a felony sexual battery of a child charge was dismissed.

Briggs said he had met the victim on the app Grindr, which calls itself “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.” Briggs said the teen initially said he was 18-years-old when they began talking, according to court documents.

After communicating over Grindr and Snapchat, Briggs said he and the victim decided to meet up. He said he asked the victim to show him ID, and the teen ultimately confessed to being only 17. Briggs said he didn’t want the teen to feel abandoned and kept talking to him.

Briggs then confessed to having sex with the teen three times at his Teton home.

In addition to the rider, court records show Briggs was also ordered to pay $2,045.50 in fees and fines.