Mills Man Faces 20-30 Years in Prison for Child Sexual Abuse
A Mills man faces up to 30 years imprisonment after entering two guilty pleas and one Alford plea to sexually abusing a girl last year during a change of plea hearing in Natrona County District Court on Friday.
Jonah Decker entered an Alford plea to first-degree sexual abuse of a minor. An Alford plea is a plea in which the accused acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction before a jury, but does not concede that he committed the crime.
Decker, who was born in 1984, also pleaded to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
In exchange for the change of pleas from not guilty, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri proposed a prison term of no more than 20 to 30 years for the count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and two prison terms to be served concurrently for the two counts of third-degree sexual abuse of minor.
The prosecution also agreed to dismiss six other counts: two other counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
Judge Kerri Johnson received the plea agreement and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. However, she is not bound by the plea agreement at sentencing.
Conviction of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor is punishable by 25 to 50 years of imprisonment; second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment; and third-degree sexual abuse of a minor is punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Johnson will set a sentencing date later.
Decker, who was represented by attorney Tim Cotton, remains in custody on a $50,000 cash bond, according to court records.
The case started on Dec. 26, when a Casper police officer notified a Mills police detective about a woman who went to the Casper Police department to report the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl, according to a police affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court.
The girl said Decker made her sexually touch him the day before and on previous occasions.
The next day, the girl was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Project. She said Decker had been touching her inappropriately since she was in the second grade, according to the affidavit.
The woman who reported the alleged assaults showed the Mills detective and an agent with the Wyoming Department of Family Services texts from Decker, who apologized for doing something saying he was "stupid and drunk."
On Dec. 27, officers executed a search warrant at Decker's residence.
The Mills Police detective interviewed Decker, who said he had worked in numerous jobs. Decker said he did not initially remember many details because he was drunk during the night of the alleged abuse, but he remembered more as the interview continued.
He was arrested and taken to the county jail.