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Former BYU-Idaho student who tried to solicit young girl for sex gets rider

Crime Watch

IDAHO FALLS – A former BYU-Idaho student who pleaded guilty to enticing children through the internet was sentenced Thursday.

Spencer Rawlings, 26, accepted a plea agreement in April, where he agreed to plead guilty to one count of felony enticing children through the internet and one count of possession of child sexually exploitative material.

RELATED | BYU-Idaho student arrested for trying to meet teen for sex, police say

As part of the agreement, the prosecution and defense agreed Rawlings would be sentenced to between one and one-half years of determinate prison time. However, taking into account the time Rawlings has already served in jail, Judge Michael Whyte opted to place him into a rider program.

A rider program is a prison treatment program aimed at reducing the likelihood that an inmate will re-offend. The program can last between six months to a year, at the end of which, the judge will decide whether or not to send the defendant to back to prison or place him on probation, based on how he does in the program.

In September 2021, police arrested Rawlings after he drove from Rexburg to Idaho Falls to meet with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Instead, Rawlings was actually talking with an undercover Idaho Falls Police detective. Rawlings, who is originally from Texas, was then charged with felony enticing a child over the internet and felony sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to court documents, Rawlings allegedly asked the supposed 14-year-old to send him nude photographs.

Police say that he also talked about having sexual intercourse during the conversation with the undercover detective.

“Rawlings admitted to driving to Idaho Falls with the intent to have sex with a minor child,” an officer wrote in the police report. He “admitted to requesting naked photographs of a minor child.”

Upon his release from the rider program, Rawlings will be required to register as a sex offender.

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