Caregiver sentenced to probation for sexual assault


EVANSTON — The Evanston woman who faced sexual assault charges following an incident that occurred last January while she was employed as a daily living assistant at Pioneer Counseling has been sentenced to probation. Kortney Thompson made an appearance in Third District Court on Tuesday, Sept. 10, for a change of plea and sentencing hearing. 

Thompson was charged initially following an incident in late January, when she provided alcohol to clients in the group home where she was overseeing their care. An affidavit filed in the case states that one of those clients reported he passed out in his room from intoxication and awoke to find Thompson engaging in sexual activity with him without his consent. Other residents in the group home reported witnessing the incident. 

Thompson initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree sexual assault, but through a plea agreement with the Uinta County Attorney’s Office changed her plea to guilty to one count of third-degree sexual assault and one count of sexual battery. 

Through the plea agreement, Thompson was given a deferred prosecution on the sexual assault charge and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation. If she successfully completes the probation, the charge will be dismissed, which will allow Thompson to avoid having a felony on her record and having to register as a sex offender.

Thompson was sentenced to 180 days of incarceration for the sexual battery charge, with credit given for the four days she previously spent in the county jail and the remainder suspended. She was sentenced to six months of probation for that count, to run concurrent to the probation on the sexual assault count.

Uinta County Attorney Loretta Howieson-Kallas argued in favor of the plea agreement, noting Thompson had no significant prior criminal record and the victim in the case wanted to move past the incident and not appear in court. She also noted that the victim, witnesses and Thompson herself were all intoxicated at the time of the incident, which could make obtaining testimony difficult. 

Howieson-Kallas said the agreement would allow Thompson to avoid a felony record if she successfully completes the requirement, but the misdemeanor conviction of sexual battery would still likely prohibit future employment in a caretaker scenario. In the courtroom, Thompson admitted she and the clients had been drinking and admitted the sexual contact. She said that at the time of the incident she believed the victim had consented. 

Judge Joseph Bluemel accepted the plea agreement. In addition to the probation, Thompson was also ordered to pay several hundred dollars in court and public defender fees. 

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