Originally posted on April 29, 2016
“They will have spent more time incarcerated for petty crimes for Valerie Lieteau will for sexually abusing teenagers.”
That comment by Attorney Bruce Skaug sums up the utterly ridiculous situation in a recent child rape case:
A former juvenile corrections nurse accused of sexually abusing boys incarcerated at the facility where she worked has accepted a plea deal that rids her of a child sex charge.
Prosecutors amended a charge of sexual battery on a minor to aggravated assault Friday, the same day 41-year-old Valerie Lieteau entered her guilty plea.
Because the defendant did not plead guilty to a sexual crime, she will not be required to register as a sex offender.
That is rather curious because in most instances plea deals require one to admit to an offense. Yet for some reason the deal this woman received also her to walk without any real punishment. One would think her crimes would be benign in order to receive such a pass. They are not:
Lieteau was originally accused of drugging and having sex with at least four boys in the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections’ Nampa facility between 2008 and 2011.
According to a tort claim filed by the alleged victims and their families, Lieteau gave the teenagers prescription medications and street drugs. She’s accused of having sex with one 15-year-old in the nurses’ office while another employee acted a lookout.
When one of the boys was released, Lieteau made several trips to his hometown and continued the sexual relationship, according to the tort.
Attorney Bruce Skaug said the teens tried to alert other officials at the juvenile facility about the abuse, but were ignored.
Those seem like very serious crimes that deserve some jail time. Another article provides some clarity:
Lieteau, 41, could have faced up to life in prison if she had been convicted of one of the crimes she was originally charged with, felony sexually battery of a minor. In agreeing to plead guilty to aggravated assault, also a felony, Lieteau now faces up to five years in prison when she’s sentenced May 31 by Canyon County District Judge Chris Nye.
In exchange for Lieteau’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two counts of sexual battery of a minor and two counts of sexual contact with a juvenile inmate. Because of the amended charge is not a sex crime, Lieteau will not have to register as a sex offender.
The plea agreement was reached after prosecutors consulted with the victims and their attorney Bruce Skaug, who represents them in a pending civil case against Lieteau and the state Juvenile Corrections Department.
Neither article explains why the sex offenses were taken off the table. Lieteau comes across as predatory in both articles. She tracked down one of the boys when he was released and threatened him if revealed the abuse. It does not appear any of that was taken into account.
It does not look like Lieteau will get a complete pass. She still faces five years in jail for assault and faces the lawsuit against her. However, it does appear that she gets to walk away from this without ever being held accountable for why she committed aggravated assault, namely that it resulted from her raping several imprisoned boys.
While I understand Skaug’s disappointment about the pass this woman will receive and the apparent fact that his clients will have spent more time locked up for mundane crimes compared to this woman’s felonies, I fail to understand why he or the prosecutors agreed with the deal. All the boys appear to have suffered trauma as a result of the assaults. Unless there is an issue with the victims’ testimony or the boys did not want to participate, it would have been better to take Lieteau to trial rather than let her walk away without ever facing any punishment for child rape.