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Man pleads not guilty to felony sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult

Crime Watch

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

IDAHO FALLS – A man facing felony charges of sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult was recently arraigned in district court.

Charles Thomas Drane, 39, appeared before Judge Dane Watkins Jr. and pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

The charge dates back to July 25, according to court records. Police say Drane was neighbors with the 27-year-old victim, who has the mentality of a 7-year-old due to cognitive impairments. She went to Drane’s house on the 100 block of 3rd Street around 8:30 p.m. to pick up a gift he said he had for her.

“She sat on a large tan couch, (and) Tom (as Drane was known to the victim’s mother) began to rub her back, shoulders, stomach, lower back and ‘below the belt,'” an Idaho Falls Police officer wrote.

The victim told officers Drane “lifted up her bra and kissed her breasts.” He allegedly told her to get on the floor and took off her pants, shoes and underwear.

After some unwanted sexual contact, the victim reportedly told Drane to stop, but he did not, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Later, Drane is reported to have told the victim not to tell anyone or “he would hurt her and anyone else with a knife.”

Drane was questioned by officers several days later. Police say he denied having any physical contact with the victim, claiming that he told her to leave when she came to his house asking about a gift.

Test results contained DNA from two people, which officials determined was more likely to be a combination of Drane’s and the victim’s DNA rather than the victim and someone else.

Drane was arrested and taken into custody at the Bonneville County Jail. Drane’s charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 13, and his jury trial is set for July 5.

Although Drane is accused of a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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