An Idaho Falls man was sentenced Monday for attempting to entice underage children into sex over the internet.
Aaron Anthony, 40, was arrested in May and charged with enticing through the internet, video image or communication device to lure a child under 16. The arrest came after a probation officer learned Anthony was sending messages to teen girls with Kik, a messenger app.
An investigator with the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, a statewide law enforcement group, created a fake Kik account and communicated with Anthony posing as a 15-year-old girl. Anthony sent sexually explicit messages and asked to meet up for sex. He warned the girl not to tell anyone.
“If I get caught, I will go to jail,” Anthony said in a message.
Anthony was arrested when he arrived at the agreed location. In June, while on parole for the previous incident, Anthony was again arrested for trying to petition underage girls for sex.
Defense Attorney John Thomas said his client suffered from cognitive disabilities, and a rider program could help him learn from his mistakes. Thomas said prison would only make Anthony worse.
“I think that he’s going to be victimized, and I think he’s going to be turned into a monster rather than be rehabilitated,” Thomas said.
Anthony said he was concerned for his safety if sent to prison.
“I don’t think I can make it in prison,” Anthony said. “They don’t like sex offenders in there. I’ll be jumped or killed.”
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said because Anthony had tried to commit the same crime after being arrested, a rider program was not appropriate.
“I don’t think that we can say if he gets treatment or is on probation that it won’t happen again,” Dewey said.
District Judge Joel Tingey sentenced Anthony to two to 10 years in prison. Anthony will have to register as a sex offender after completing his sentence.
Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.