Updated: Apr 10, 2021
During 2020 the total number of reported incidents of child sexual abuse in Idaho increased by 17%, according to a report from the State of Idaho.
775 child sex cases were recorded during 2020 in Idaho, which is the highest the state has seen over the past decade.
Nationwide, one in five girls and one and 20 boys are estimated to be victims of child sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. There are 446,766 children in the State of Idaho, according to the 2019 Census Bureau, which would mean 44,676 girls and 11,169 boys would fall victim to sexual abuse assuming the male to female ratio is 50/50.
A paralegal in Post Falls says there are reasons these statistics are so high and continue to increase.
"Sex crimes against children are at a 30-year high in Idaho. Sadly, the majority of those convicted of these crimes go free on probation with plea agreements and return to communities to re-offend," Paralegal Audry Pasqua said.
In the State of Idaho, the max sentence for an adult, who was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor is 25 years, according to Idaho code. There are harsher punishments for these types of crimes depending on which code they are charged with. Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney says most are charged with Lewd Conduct with a Minor, which carries a life sentence.
In Flordia, an offender is charged with a life felony and faces life in prison if the sexual act is with a child under the age of 12.
"I couldn’t sleep at night with this on my heart and mind, knowing that I have the tools to make a difference. I had to act. Then I read that AG report for 2020 and it made me sick," Pasqua said to North Idaho News Now.
Pasqua says leniency and plea agreements that are given to offenders of child sex crimes are a war being waged against Idaho’s children, which is why she started an online petition.
So far, it has received 470 signatures of its 500 goal. Pasqua wants to change Idaho’s laws to include mandatory prison sentences with rehabilitation for child predators. She says mandating prison sentences that include rehabilitation will decrease future recidivism and protect children from repeat offenders.
“We are at war in the state of Idaho and the weapon is so heinous it strips the innocence from 1in 5 female children and 1 in 20 male children. The battlefield is littered with brave Jane and John Doe’s who want to know if their lives matter. I want them to all know that they matter,” Pasqua said.
The petition can be found at this link.