Thomas Roberts

Thomas Roberts

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Roberts' previous time served would count toward his new case. This is only true of the time he served after the warrant for his new cases was served in April. The article has been updated to reflect these changes.

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A sex offender who was already serving prison time received a sentence Monday that means he will serve longer.

District Judge Joel Tingey sentenced Thomas Dale Roberts, 57, to four to 16 years in prison for two sexual abuse cases.

Roberts is already serving three years fixed for a 2016 sexual abuse case. The new sentences mean he cannot be released on parole this year, and will be in prison at least until 2023.

In all three cases, Roberts sexually abused young girls staying at a child care center. Roberts lived in the same building as the child care center, but did not work as an employee.

Roberts admitted to some of the specific incidents described by the victims, and denied others, telling police he did not rape the children. He said he would wait until the woman running the child care was in the kitchen and lead the children into another room.

One of the victims told police she came forward because of the possibility Roberts could be released on parole this year.

Defense Attorney John Thomas described the new charges as “sour grapes” from the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office, and wondered if another victim would come forward in another three years.

“They saw when this person was getting out of prison, and they decided to file more charges,” Thomas said.

Thomas said Roberts admitted to the allegations shortly after they were made. He argued a consecutive sentence, in which a defendant serves a prison term after completing another sentence, would not add to Roberts’ penance.

Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey asked the court to give Roberts a fixed term of six years.

“The defendant told us there were no other victims, and we know that there are,” Dewey said, citing comments Roberts made during his 2016 case.

Dewey argued the fact there were multiple victims as young as 5 years old showed Roberts was a greater risk to reoffend and that a longer sentence was necessary.

Tingey said he would not consider Roberts’ previous conviction, saying each charge should be judged on its own.

Roberts made a statement to the court apologizing for his actions.

“I’m sorry, and there really are no more victims,” Roberts said. “I know nobody will believe me.”

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.