Stowell sentenced to prison

Man who admitted molesting boys gets 2 to 14 years for probation violation

By PETER ZUCKERMAN
pzuckerman@postregister.com

B. Stowell

Brad Stowell blubbered, his sentences fragmented by tears and sobs as he begged for forgiveness and told the court he still couldn't believe what had happened.

"There's no apology I can make or can ever make to undo what I have done," said the former Boy Scouts leader who molested at least 24 boys.

"Give me a chance," Stowell said Monday at his probation-violation hearing.

Seventh District Judge Richard T. St. Clair didn't buy it. Not this time. Stowell had his chance already, St. Clair said.

Judges tend to impose a sentence somewhere between what the opposing attorneys ask for, St. Clair said.

This time, though, the judge gave the prosecutors exactly what they wanted.

As victims sighed in relief in the crowded courtroom, St. Clair gave Stowell two to 14 years in prison, the original suspended sentence he got after pleading guilty about seven years ago to two counts of sex abuse of a minor.

The judge gave Stowell credit for the six months he served in jail, meaning the pedophile will spend a year and a half in prison before he has a chance for parole.

The judge said he originally gave Stowell 150 days in jail based on professionals' recommendations, the lack of treatment in the prison system, Stowell's young age and his clean criminal history.

Stowell had the opportunity to change, the judge told a Bonneville County courtroom, which was so packed that some had to stand.

In court papers filed March 30, however, Stowell said he had looked at Internet pornography, had fantasized about boys he'd molested, had spent time alone with boys and had become aroused when a girl sat on his lap. Those actions prompted Monday's hearing.

Stowell had gone "back to his old ways," the judge said, adding he needs to spend time in prison so he won't molest anyone else.

Paul Steed, the father of two victims, said the sentence was overdue.

"He spent less than a week in jail per victim," he said. "But it's better to have justice now than never -- at least we'll be safe from him for at least two years."

Chad Purser, one of the boys Stowell molested, held back tears as he told the judge that Stowell's victims suffer every day and that the pedophile needed to spend time behind bars.

Wrong, said Stowell's attorney, Curtis Smith. He said warehousing him won't help and that the 32-year-old needs more treatment. Stowell hasn't molested anyone while regularly seeing a counselor, he said, and media attention on the case has made people aware of his threat. Stowell should stay on probation, Smith said.

But Bruce Pickett, Bonneville County deputy prosecutor, told the judge that treatment has failed. Stowell can't follow his probation terms and deceived his supervisors, he said.

"If he can't be vigilant, society must be vigilant with him," Pickett said.

Throughout the hearing, Adam Steed, who originally turned in Stowell, sat frozen on the edge of his seat, leaning forward with his hands clenched together.

Steed finally relaxed as Stowell left the courtroom for prison.

"It's over," he said and stood up and hugged his mother.

Idaho Falls reporter Peter Zuckerman can be reached at 542-6750.

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