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An Idaho woman has taken a plea deal that nixed her sex offender charges after she was accused of sexually abusing several teenage boys from a Mormon seminary school.
Amanda Katherine Steele, 35, was ordered last week to spend 90 days in jail after she pleaded guilty to two felony counts of injury to a child, East Idaho News reports. She had originally been charged with three felony counts of child sexual battery after investigators said that in 2016 she lured teenage boys from a Latter-day Saint seminary to skip both school and seminary to go to her home for sexual encounters.
The sex charges were dropped as part of the plea deal and now Steele will not have to register as a sex offender.
Steele was first arrested in late 2019. She and her lawyers have been seeking a plea deal for her since at least June. The judge in the case had previously rejected such a deal, citing a lack of evidence that the teenage boys suffered great bodily harm, but accepted the plea deal in July.
The teen victims initially told authorities the sex was consensual, but under Idaho law, a minor who is 16 or 17 years old cannot legally consent to sex with an adult who is five or more years older. Some of the sexual activity allegedly took place in Steele’s hot tub, East Idaho News reported.
An investigation into the activity began in late 2017 after Steele’s former father-in-law reported hearing rumors about a group of boys hanging out with Steele, East Idaho News reported in March.
Steele, who was married at the time, was first interviewed by investigators about the allegations in 2018. Her now-former husband, who was present during that 2018 interview, contacted deputies again about the allegations in 2019.
At that point, he told investigators that Steele confessed to him that she’d had sex with the underage boys. However, he admitted that he was more worried about saving their marriage than legal matters, so he did not speak up. He said that at one point he caught his wife snuggling a teen in their hot tub.
In addition to jail time, Steele must also complete 300 hours of community service and pay $4,671 in fees and fines.
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