Former local jail deputy found guilty of child sexual abuse after trial - East Idaho News
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Former local jail deputy found guilty of child sexual abuse after trial

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IDAHO FALLS — A former Bonneville County jail deputy was found guilty of child sexual abuse after a six-day jury trial.

Robert Bluhm, 56, was found guilty by a jury of felony rape of a victim under 16 years of age, felony lewd conduct with a child under 16, and felony forcible penetration by use of a foreign object.

Bannock County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erin Tognetti argued for the prosecution.

Bluhm is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 12 before District Judge Michael Whyte, where he could face up to life in prison.


Court documents say the case was first reported to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office in June 2022. During a forensic interview, a minor victim stated Bluhm “makes her sleep with him in his bed and touches her.”

The victim also said Bluhm was abusive to the victim’s mother and alleged she had seen him “striking her on the head, pushing her off the couch and saying unkind words” to her.

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Police reports state when the victim was picked up by Child Protective Services to go to the forensic interview, Bluhm whispered something in her ear to the extent of, “If you tell (censored) you (censored) will never see me or your mom again.”

The victim also stated she often woke up to Bluhm raping her.

On Aug. 16, the victim was seen by a pediatric S.A.N.E. (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse. She was found to have extensive internal scarring that police reports say was caused by trauma and/or sexual abuse. The victim told the nurse she was being sexually abused every day she was with Bluhm, and that it involved being abused with foreign objects.

Court documents say the victim said if she were to go back to Bluhm’s house, she would “either be beaten, raped, end up pregnant or end up dead.”

During an interview with the victim’s mother, the mother told investigators the behavior began in 2021 when she asked Bluhm for a divorce. The child sexual abuse allegedly started shortly after.

On Aug. 29, a search warrant was executed on Bluhm’s home and he was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail because of his previous work as a jail deputy at the Bonneville County Jail.

Bluhm pleaded not guilty to all three charges, but was found guilty on all counts after a trial.