Nathan H. Matzinger will serve at least 7 ˝ years behind bars as part of a 15-year prison sentence for trying to have sex with a child.
After a Coeur d’Alene judge ordered the 29-year-old back to court from a drug rehabilitation program that she had allowed him to attend, First District Judge Cynthia K.C. Meyer imposed his prison sentence and ordered he be immediately detained.
Matzinger pleaded guilty to one felony count of battery with intent to commit lewd conduct with a minor, and one count of false imprisonment. The charges were reduced as part of a plea arrangement for Matzinger, who was arrested last summer after being indicted for lewd conduct and kidnapping.
Matzinger, who once lived in Coeur d’Alene, was couch surfing at a friend’s house last summer when he was charged. He allegedly entered the bedroom of a 7-year-old while family members were asleep and forced himself upon the child, preventing her from leaving the room by restraining her and blocking the doorway, according to reports.
At Tuesday’s hearing in Coeur d’Alene, his attorney, Rick Baughman, said that despite Matzinger’s drug and alcohol addiction, he had a minimal criminal history and suffered from a bi-polar disorder and depression.
Baughman delivered several letters to the court from friends and relatives who supported Matzinger, calling the incident an anomaly.
“We have nothing like this before,” Baughman said. “They are shocked. This is not the Nathan they know.”
Matzinger told the court that while spending 217 days in jail, and since posting bail, the incident has not left his mind.
“There are no words that can properly describe in any language the level of apology that I wish I could convey,” he said.
Meyer believed Matzinger when he said it was a one-time incident, and that he felt remorse. The judge commended him for tackling his substance abuse issues, but this crime was violent, Meyer said.
“(There are) multiple broken hearts in this courtroom,” Meyer said. ”It really is a tragedy. It is horrific. We have this little girl whose innocence was shattered and will probably remember this for the rest of her life.”
Deputy prosecutor Molly Nivison had asked for a 20-year sentence that included 13 years behind bars.
“What he did is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Nivison said. “It was evil and 100 percent his choice to violate this girl.”
Meyer also added 365 days to the sentence for misdemeanor false imprisonment, and gave Matzinger credit for the time he served in jail.