An Idaho Falls man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual acts with an underage girl.

Judge Joel Tingey sentenced Jason Scott, 49, to three years of fixed prison time with up to 12 years indeterminate on Monday for a lewd act with a child younger than 16. Tingey also ordered him to pay $2,770 in court fees, fines and a psychosexual evaluation.

Scott was arrested in November and charged with nine counts of lewd conduct with a young relative. The original charges included alleged incidents that occurred over a period of four years, when the girl was between the ages of 9 and 13. Police were made aware of the charges when the victim’s mother asked her to spend time with Scott in June, leading to the incidents being revealed to the family and a forensic interviewer.

Scott admitted to a number of sexual acts with the girl when interviewed by an Idaho Falls Police Department detective but denied a rape allegation. He agreed to plead guilty to one charge during his hearing in March.

Public defender John Thomas cited his client’s cooperation with the police and “hyper-vigilant” follow-up before his sentencing as evidence that he was remorseful about his actions and could be eligible for a rider program.

“The reason it was so detailed is that he didn’t want to leave anything out. He’s never been in trouble with the law before,” Thomas said.

Prosecutor John Dewey acknowledged the lack of prior incidents but said that didn’t take away from the seriousness of the offense committed by Scott. Dewey cited a second allegation that came to light last year as evidence that Scott had a pattern of predatory behavior.

Before being arrested, Scott had briefly worked as an aide at Hillcrest High School. District 93 officials said that he was suspended in early 2018 after a student’s mother found inappropriate text messages between Scott and her daughter, leading to an investigation by the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. That investigation did not result in any charges being filed.

Contact Brennen with news tips at 208-542-6711.

Kauffman reports on health care and city events for the Post Register.

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