A man who sexually abused a teenager, reportedly along with his brother, was sentenced to a rider program Wednesday.
Tristton Brumfield, 23, was arrested in May after he and his brother, 25-year-old Bryce Brumfield, admitted to having sex with the 15-year-old girl multiple times.
According to court records the victim was living on the same property as the brothers. Multiple witnesses reported seeing both brothers have sex with her on different occasions. The victim had a dating relationship with both brothers while they were living together.
“This is something I suspect she will live with for decades, not years,” District Judge Jon Shindurling said.
Tristton Brumfield was charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a minor. He pleaded guilty to one in exchange for the other being dismissed.
Public Defender Manuel Murdoch had to clarify several troubling statements Brumfield made to the presentence investigator. According to Murdoch, Brumfield told the investigator that nobody was hurt by his actions and that he did not feel he needed treatment.
Murdoch said Brumfield meant no one was physically injured. He said his client was willing to undergo treatment if ordered to by the court. He disagreed with the presentence investigator’s assessment that his client did not feel remorse and said his client had repeatedly expressed regret. He noted that Brumfield had no prior felonies on his record and wanted to go to school and pull his life together.
Shindurling pushed back when Murdoch said his client did not intend to abuse the victim. Murdoch argued Brumfield’s actions came from alcohol, but the judge pointed out only two of the six reported incidents involved alcohol.
The judge also disagreed with statements by Brumfield that the accusations in police reports and news articles were exaggerated. Murdoch said media made it seem like the sex was forced. Shindurling said that while the victim may have agreed to sex, she could not legally consent.
Under Idaho law sex between a minor and an adult is a sexual offense by the adult, even if the underage victim was not forced.
“It may have been a non-forced relationship, but it can’t be consensual,” Shindurling said.
Bingham County Deputy Prosecutor Jason Chandler recommended a prison sentence, saying Brumfield’s actions were not a mistake.
“This wasn’t a one-and-done scenario,” Chandler said. He noted Brumfield had sex with her multiple times and knew her age.
Chandler said he was unconvinced of Brumfield’s remorse, calling his statements “lip service.” He said the defendant focused on how the incident affected him, rather than the victim.
Chandler accused the brothers of ganging up on the victim to take advantage of her. He said that while the presentence investigation found Brumfield to be a good candidate for treatment, there was no reason he could not receive that treatment in prison.
Brumfield gave a statement to the court expressing regret for his actions and that he was remorseful.
“On my part, I do hope the victim does get better on what I put her through,” Brumfield said.
Shindurling reminded Brumfield of the seriousness of the charge, pointing out that he could give him a life sentence if he deemed it necessary. He described the brothers’ actions as “conspiratorial.”
The judged cited the psychosexual evaluation that determined Brumfield lacked a basic understanding of sexual relationships. According to Shindurling, the evaluation found Brumfield was not necessarily attracted to children, but instead sought a partner who was similarly inexperienced.
Shindurling also said Brumfield’s own history of abuse and trauma factored into his decision to issue a rider sentence. He believed Brumfield was remorseful but needed to better understand how his actions affected the victim.
“I don’t think you’re predatory,” Shindurling said. “I think you’re emotionally immature.”
A rider program, also known as retained jurisdiction, is a sentence that requires a defendant to undergo a treatment program for six months to a year. Once the program is completed, the judge can decide to either release the defendant on probation or impose the underlying sentence.
Brumfield was given an underlying sentence of three years fixed and up to 15 years in prison.
Brumfield was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and to register as a sex offender.
Bryce Brumfield is facing two charges of lewd conduct with a minor. A plea deal has not been reached in the case. A pretrial conference in his case is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 4 in the Bingham County Courthouse.