BLACKFOOT — Former Blackfoot City Parks department employee Michael Roy Conn was sentenced to seven years to 17 years in prison on Tuesday. Conn pled guilty to one count of sexual battery with a minor 16 or 17 years old.
Conn was initially charged with five counts of sexual battery with a minor 16 or 17 years old stemming from incidents in 2008. Charges were filed against him in April 2010.
The plea agreement recommended probation with conditions. This agreement was recommended by the prosecuting attorney, defense attorney and the pre-sentence evaluator.
District Court Judge Darren Simpson did not follow the recommendation.
Simpson acknowledged the circumstances are unlikely to reoccur.
“Outside of this case, you have led a law-abiding life,” he said.
“You can be compliant with the terms of this sentence,” Simpson said, “but the plea agreement would depreciate the seriousness of this crime.
“Your conduct did cause harm to the victim and could continue to cause harm for the rest of her life,” Simpson said. “You abused your situation of trust and authority.
“You groomed this girl,” Simpson said. “You used your position as a coach and authority figure to lure this girl into this situation; it happened more than just one time as you have admitted.
“At your age, it doesn’t give you the right to take advantage or blame the victim,” the judge said. “The victim did nothing in this case.”
Besides receiving a 7- to 17-year sentence in the Idaho State Penitentiary, Conn was fined $1,500 and $525.50 court costs. He will pay $5,000 restitution to the victim and register as a sex offender. Conn is to provide a DNA sample and an impression of his right thumb to law enforcement.
Conn, 58, had worked for the Blackfoot City Parks and Recreation Department for 11 years. He had helped develop the baseball fields in Blackfoot. He was involved in sporting activities as a baseball coach. He also worked in the Bingham County Sheriff’s reserve program on a volunteer basis.
The victim’s parents were in the courtroom and had requested to make a statement. Because the victim is now 18 years, Judge Simpson would not allow them to do so.
When Conn had opportunity to speak, he apologized to the victim’s parents.
“I will never have contact with the victim again,” Conn said. “I apologize for the hurt I caused; I apologize to my family.”