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Man sentenced to prison for child sexual abuse

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | June 12, 2021 1:00 AM

HARRISON — A Kootenai County man will spend at least two decades in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a teen girl.

Judge John Mitchell sentenced 42-year-old Thaddeus J. Collett on Wednesday to 25 years in prison, with 20 years fixed and five indeterminate.

The charge stemmed from October 2019, when Collett reportedly had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl while staying at her family’s home in Harrison.

The girl told police Collett touched her inappropriately on multiple occasions.

In text messages obtained by police, Collett reportedly asked the girl to send nude photos of herself, attempted to arrange to meet her for sex and referred to past sexual encounters between the two.

The state filed charges against Collett in February 2020 and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

He was taken into custody in August 2020.

Prosecuting attorney Barry McHugh said Collett, who has six prior felony convictions, groomed the girl before he abused her.

Originally charged with lewd conduct with a minor under 16, enticement of a child and sexual exploitation of a child by possession of sexually exploitive materially, all felonies, Collett pleaded guilty in April to sexual abuse of a child.

The plea was part of a pretrial settlement offer.

In Idaho, sexual abuse of a child is a felony punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison.