An Idaho Falls man was sentenced to 10 years of probation Monday for the rape of a 16-year-old girl.
Dakota Sequoyah Bowman, 26, will have to serve 300 days in jail before he is released. Most of that time has already been served during his nine-month court case, meaning Bowman will be released next month.
Bowman was arrested in March after a 16-year-old girl reported she had met up with him at a high school for sex. The victim told law enforcement the sex was not forced. In a victim impact statement, she said she was bullied into the relationship by Bowman.
The victim’s mother read the statement to the court, describing how Bowman would try to grab and kiss the girl at the fast food restaurant where they worked. She said Bowman attempted to make the victim have sex with him at work.
“Mr. Bowman abused his power over me in every way possible,” the victim’s mother read from the girl’s statement. “I feel disgusted. I no longer feel safe being alone around men.”
Defense Attorney Rocky Wixom questioned how much the victim was forced into the relationship, noting that she willingly met up with him at the high school for sex.
Wixom also cited his client’s lack of a criminal history. He also cited a psychosexual evaluation that determined Bowman had no sexually deviant interests and could be treated while living in the community. Wixom asked that Bowman be given a chance on probation.
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey also recommended probation, but was critical of statements Bowman made to the presentence investigator. Bowman had said the victim blackmailed him into having sex, which Dewey said was in contrast to Bowman’s text messages to the victim saying he loved her.
Bowman apologized and expressed regret for his actions. He talked about his loss since he was arrested, saying his family will no longer talk to him.
“I’ve lost my car, I’ve lost my family, I’ve lost everything I’ve ever possessed in the last 26 years of my life,” Bowman said.
District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. expressed concern about how quick Bowman was to apologize before focusing on his own problems. Watkins said victim’s statement reminded him of many others he’s read and heard as a judge.
In addition to probation and jail time, Bowman will be required to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment. If Bowman violates the terms of probation, he may have to serve his underlying sentence of 2 to 15 years in prison. Watkins also stated Bowman would be required to write a letter recognizing what he has done and submit it to his probation officer.