An Idaho Falls man accused of raping multiple children was sentenced to a minimum of five years and up to 25 years in prison.
District Judge Bruce Pickett handed down the sentence Wednesday, rejecting a rider program after Caden Coles, 21, repeatedly denied his guilt despite pleading guilty.
Coles pleaded guilty to forcible penetration by use of a foreign object and felony injury to a child. In exchange the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed charges of lewd conduct with a child and aggravated battery.
Coles was accused in September of sexually abusing multiple children, who said he offered them access to electronic devices in exchange for performing sex acts.
That case was dismissed, however, as the sentencing focused on an incident in March in which Coles became frustrated with a 2-year-old child while bathing them and forced a toy up the victim’s rectum.
The victim had to undergo surgery to treat the resulting injury, according to Bonneville County Assistant Chief Deputy Prosecutor Penny North-Shaul.
Defense Attorney Jason Gustaves focused on Coles’ mental health while arguing for retained jurisdiction. He said Coles grew up in an unstable household with no father. The attorney said that during an evaluation of his mental health, Coles often did not understand the questions he was asked.
“He has some gaps in his ability to function,” Gustaves said.
Gustaves also said Coles had no prior criminal history.
North-Shaul expressed concerns that Coles had refused to acknowledge raping and injuring the victim. During his interview with a presentence investigator, he reportedly told them, “I just said what the detective wanted me to say.”
Coles’ conviction was based not just on the confession, but also on the victim’s injuries and evidence found on the toy used in the assault.
North-Shaul noted this was after Coles pleaded guilty. She said his statements showed he “lacks insight” into his need for treatment.
“I understand he’s young, but he’s young and he’s dangerous right now,” North-Shaul said. Later, she added, “He’s just simply not taking responsibility and being honest with this court about what he did to that child.”
Pickett agreed that Coles’ continued denials despite pleading guilty were a concern. He also emphasized the harm to the victim while handing down his sentence.
“This is a 2-year-old child that can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to defend itself,” Pickett said.
Pickett also ordered Coles to serve five to 10 years in prison on the injury to a child charge, which will run concurrent with his 25-year sentence for forcible penetration.
Coles will have to pay a $1,000 fine, and must register as a sex offender upon his release.
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This is the reason that mental institutions need to be brought back. Some people are just not capable mentally to function in society and need to be put away to keep others safe.
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