Virginia man pleads not guilty to lewd conduct with a child in Madison County
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Editor’s note: This article contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
REXBURG – A Virginia man facing four felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16 in Madison County was arraigned in District Court.
Jeffrey E. O’Connor, 32, appeared before District Judge Joel Tingey on May 9, where he pleaded not guilty.
The charges date back to Jan. 1, 2013. O’Connor was attending Brigham Young University-Idaho at the time and is reported to have been involved in the sexual assault of a 15- or 16-year-old victim, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Police say the victim, who is now 24 and lives in Boise, recently told his mom about the alleged assault. They filed a report in November and investigators discovered O’Connor now lives in Virginia.
Court documents don’t specify how O’Connor knew the victim.
The victim told police he took a trip from Boise to Rexburg with O’Connor sometime between 2013 and 2014. O’Connor was coming from Washington and asked the victim if he wanted a ride to Rexburg. O’Connor picked him up in Boise and he stayed with O’Connor at his college dorm, which is where court records say the alleged sexual assault took place.
“During the stay, Jeffrey repeatedly asked (the victim) personal questions, including ones sexual in nature,” an officer wrote in his report. “At one point … Jeffrey encouraged (the victim) to touch his (genitals).”
O’Connor is alleged to have touched himself in front of the victim before touching the victim’s genitals.
The following night, police report O’Connor continued asking personal questions and lay beside the victim on the floor. O’Connor became more forceful and explicit in his requests.
“(The victim) pushed Jeffrey off and told him what was happening wasn’t normal. Jeffrey got angry and brought up that he had bought (the victim) things and that (the victim) must just be using him to get things,” police report. “The victim said this made him feel bad and he apologized to Jeffrey.”
O’Connor then allegedly talked the victim into touching him again. O’Connor became more physical when the victim would not do what O’Connor requested, the report says. O’Connor is reported to have held the victim down while he performed a sexual act. The victim was eventually able to shove him away.
“Jeffrey tried to make (the victim) feel bad again like he was the problem. (The victim) told him what happened wasn’t normal,” the officer wrote.
O’Connor allegedly told the victim not to tell anyone about what happened during the trip back to Boise because “it would ruin him.” O’Connor sent several text messages to the victim over the next several months reminding him not to tell anyone. When the victim agreed he wouldn’t, O’Connor stopped messaging him.
O’Connor was arrested and released after posting a $30,000 bond in January. His charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines.
A pre-trial conference is set for Oct. 24 before District Judge Steven Boyce. His jury trial is scheduled to begin on November 15 and could last up to four days.
Although O’Connor is accused of a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.