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Teen accepts plea deal in abuse case

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | November 23, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A former Lake City High School student previously accused of rape has accepted a plea deal.

The 16-year-old is expected to plead guilty to attempted strangulation and domestic battery, both felonies.

He will also plead guilty to misdemeanor injury to a child.

The felony crimes are punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail, according to court documents, while the misdemeanor offense carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail.

The offender’s name has not been released because he is a minor.

The charges stem from late April, when a teen girl contacted Coeur d’Alene police to report what she described as more than a year of daily abuse at the hands of her former boyfriend.

The girl testified at a preliminary hearing that the offender raped her approximately 10 times between February 2020 and January 2021.

“When I tried to resist, he would rip my hair out and hit me,” she said.

Her former boyfriend frequently beat her, she said.

In court, she described an incident where she said the offender chased her with a baseball bat into a wooded area behind his home.

“I was afraid he would kill me,” she said.

Police said video and audio recordings depicting abuse had circulated among students.

In one video presented in court, a person identified by prosecutors as the offender could be heard yelling.

The girl said she hid her phone under her leg so she could record the video, which primarily showed the interior of the offender’s car.

After the sound of a scuffle, the girl cried out and sobbed, “Please don’t hit me.”

The offender continued to scream.

“You bring this upon yourself,” he yelled. “You make me turn into a bad guy. This is my fault for doing this s— to you, but you drive me insane to the point that I have to do it.”

Classmates testified that they had seen hand-shaped bruises on the girl’s arms, as well as black eyes and bruising around her neck.

A classmate told the court that he confronted the offender about the rumors of abuse circulating at school.

He said the offender admitted to raping and beating the girl.

“He tried to convince me he was changing and trying to be better,” the classmate said. “He was trying to save our friendship.”

In May, prosecutors charged the boy with rape, attempted strangulation and aggravated assault, all felonies.

He was also charged with battery, a misdemeanor.

He previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A jury trial was scheduled to begin Dec. 6.

As part of a pretrial settlement offer signed Friday, the state has agreed to dismiss the original charges and transfer the case to juvenile court.

The suspect must undergo a psychosexual evaluation, as well as a domestic violence evaluation, and complete all recommended treatment.

He has reportedly agreed to be supervised as a sex offender through juvenile probation.

The plea agreement also stipulates a five-year no contact order between the teen and the victim.