MOSCOW, Idaho -- Tanya Rippey was unable to stay composed before 2nd District Judge John Stegner at the Latah County Courthouse on Monday, but attorney Catherine Mabbutt read aloud her written statement wherein she apologized to her family and her victim and his family before sentencing was rendered for the crime of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.
Rippey, 31, of Genesee was arrested in early October after the mother of the boy she was having sexual relations with found explicit text messages on his cellphone.
She accepted a plea agreement March 21, where Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said he agreed to recommend a 180-day jail sentence. Prior to her written statement and final arguments from both attorneys, the victim's mother, Amanda, was allowed to make a statement she'd prepared.
"Today, I'm here to place the value of my son's innocence in your hands," she told Stegner, "but how do you place a value on a child's innocence?"
The boy's mother claimed she found 645 "predatory texts" from Rippey on her son's cellphone and she feared Rippey would be unable to fully rehabilitate herself through the psychosexual counseling she had agreed to take. Rippey kept her head low and cried at times.
"Mrs. Rippey needs a long incarceration for her deviancy," Amanda said. "Do not see the sheep, bleating and sobbing ... "
Mabbutt said Rippey's acceptance of her crime, taking a psychosexual evaluation prior to her arraignment and being incarcerated since accepting the plea agreement was enough proof of her willingness to rehabilitate that she recommended a 90-day jail sentence and a five-year probation.
Thompson said the case was rare for him because of the "gender role reversal" between victim and assailant.
"We've had plenty of cases over the years with male offenders," he said. "We simply don't see these cases."
Calling for consistency with what he would recommend for a male defendant, Thompson asked Stegner to withhold judgement and accept the plea agreement.
Stegner agreed and sentenced Rippey to 180 days in jail to be followed by a 15-year probationary period. By withholding judgement, Thompson said if Rippey violates her probation, she faces up to 25 years in prison. She will have to register as a sex offender once released, comply with a no-contact order for her victim and his siblings, stay away from parks or schools without an approved chaperone and pay restitution to the victim to be decided at a later date.
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(c) 2011, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
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