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Man Convicted in U of I Rape Case Leaves Prison After Settlement

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Jesse Vierstra, 23, has spent three and a half years behind bars. - LATAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Latah County Sheriff's Office
  • Jesse Vierstra, 23, has spent three and a half years behind bars.
A Magic Valley man, convicted of raping a woman outside a University of Idaho fraternity house in 2012, walked out of Latah County court on Oct. 3 after his conviction and prison sentence were overturned. His attorney argued his client would receive sex offender treatment sooner than he would if he remained in prison. Ketchum-based attorney Andrew Parnes said the sex offender treatment is not usually available in prison until participants approach their parole date.

Jesse Vierstra was 20 years old in June 2013 when he was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison with no possibility of parole and a maximum of 15 years behind bars for the sexual assault of a U of I student during the university's homecoming weekend in October 2012.

According to the Lewiston Tribune, the victim testified that Vierstra—a one-time U of I student—raped her when he was visiting the Moscow campus and they met at a fraternity party.

Vierstra maintained his innocence throughout the trial but, when the victim took the stand, she said she was "in constant fear of running into Vierstra or his family."

The Lewiston Tribune this morning reports Vierstra, now 23, entered an Alford Plea in Latah County's 2nd District Court Monday, not admitting guilt, but acknowledging there was enough evidence for a conviction. As part of the settlement, Vierstra's previous conviction was overturned and an amended felony charge granted him three and a half years of time served. The rest of his sentence was suspended. Vierstra will now spend the next 10 years on probation. 

The Tribune reports that a statement from the victim was read at Monday's hearing, indicating she's still in fear of Vierstra and suffers from post-traumatic stress. The victim's father also told the court Monday that he had additional concerns that Vierstra could be a repeat offender.