IDAHO FALLS – Several people in a packed courtroom stared daggers into the back of former Ammon city councilman Byron Wiscombe’s head as he was sentenced to go to prison.
Byron Wiscombe, 45, will serve a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 33 years in prison. District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. handed down the sentence Monday afternoon.
Wiscombe was charged with one count of felony lewd conduct with a child under 16, one count of felony sexual battery on a child, one count of felony video voyeurism, and one count of misdemeanor sexual battery.
He was also charged with another count of misdemeanor sexual battery in a separate case concerning a woman. He originally pleaded not guilty to all charges but a plea agreement was reached in November. Wiscombe agreed to plead guilty to felony lewd conduct with a child if all other charges, including the case concerning the woman, were dropped.
During the sentencing hearing Monday, the victim, who was a minor at the time of the abuse, provided a heart-wrenching impact statement through intermittent tears. She detailed the almost decade of sexual assault she endured at the hands of Wiscombe.
“In 2014, I cried myself to sleep the first night (Wiscombe) assaulted me,” said the victim. “I watched as he quietly got down on his hands and knees and crawled out of the room. I will never forget the sound of him crawling across the carpet because I often heard it following the first assault.”
The victim described the various lengths she would go to as a child to keep herself safe, and to stray Wiscombe’s eyes from her body to hopefully deter further abuse.
“Modesty was essential to my family, but I had other reasons for not wearing inappropriate clothing. I was very conscious that (Wiscombe) was attracted to me because of the things he would say, how he would look at me, and how he would touch me,” the victim said. “I started wearing coverups to the pool and rarely wore anything but a one-piece and a t-shirt, even in the water. I stopped doing a lot of the things I loved to do. (Wiscombe) took my childhood away from me that night, and I now know that he had objectified me and saw me as nothing more than an object in which he could find pleasure.”
One of the most compelling parts of the statement was when the victim described locking her bedroom door at night, only for Wiscombe to pick the lock with bobby pins to gain entry and abuse her.
“I threw out all of my bobby pins, but somehow I would still find them on the floor by my door, evidence that he was still getting in. I would wake up to see that things in my room had been moved. Like dirty laundry on my floor,” said the victim. “Like most teenagers, I would be tired at school, but not because I stayed out with friends the previous night. (Wiscombe) would give me gifts or treats like my favorite raspberry-filled donuts the day after he assaulted me like he felt remorseful for waking me up with his molestation the night before.”
Wiscombe was arrested in January 2022 after police received reports that he sexually assaulted a teenager and hid a cell phone in the vent above her bathtub.
According to court documents, the victim suspected Wiscombe used his Apple Watch to remotely operate the camera on his phone.
The victim detailed the moment she found the camera in court, saying it made her heart drop when she realized what the cell phone was for.
“On the fourth of July in 2019, I was in my bathroom getting ready for the eventful holiday. I jumped when I heard a ringing noise above my bathtub. I stepped onto the ledge of my bathtub to see a phone in the vent above me. I got curious to see why it was there, and I opened it to see nude photographs of me in the bath,” said the victim. “Now, everywhere I go, I look at vents and make sure there is no camera. It doesn’t matter if I know I’m safe, it is a ritual of mine to keep checking. Now I always get dressed in the dark.”
Wiscombe addressed his family and the community, often through sobs, apologizing for his actions and pleading for forgiveness. He often looked toward the victim and his family, but they never shared eye contact.
“I’m sorry to my wife of 23 years and all that I put her through. I didn’t get help, and this happened to (the victim). I’m so terribly sorry. I’m sorry to the community and the concern I caused to this good community of good people that I tried to serve and I love – my neighbors and friends,” he said. “The significant damage extended to coworkers, neighbors, and members of my faith. On Dec. 1, 2021, (the victim) did the right thing, to go to authorities and put a stop to this. I’m sorry that I was not strong enough to do it, and was compelled to be humble. (The victim) was so courageous, and I’m grateful that you did what you did.”
Before Watkins pronounced the sentence, he addressed Wiscombe, making sure he understood the severity and lasting repercussions of his actions.
“There are a few things that immediately stood out to the court today, which includes the inability that this court has to really quantify the harm that your actions have inflicted upon your family, those that are here, and none more than (the victim),” said Watkins. “To the young lady, who demonstrated that courage in her statement today, nothing about this is your fault. Nothing, nothing, nothing.”
Wiscombe resigned from his Ammon City Council position on Dec. 2, 2021 after being elected to serve another term. He had been with the city council eight years before his resignation.