A 21-year-old Carey man, who adamantly denied during his trial last August of having had sex with a 13-year-old foster child, admitted his guilt to a polygraph examiner last October, but tried to deny it again at sentencing Tuesday in Blaine County 5th District Court.
"I woke up and I think she was on top of me," Adamson told polygraph examiner Chip Morgan in a video of the interview played in court. "Yeah, it did sort of happen."
Fifth District Court Judge Barry Wood had harsh words for the defendant, but decided to give him a chance at rehabilitation. If that fails, Adamson could spend up to 10 years in prison.
"You told Chip Morgan first that you didn't do it, then that you don't know if you did it, then maybe you did it and finally, 'I guess I did it,'" Wood told the defendant. "Right here on this stand, you went from 'I didn't do it' to 'I don't know if I did it' to 'I could have did it.'"
Adamson was convicted by an all-male jury in August of sexual abuse of a minor child under 16, a crime punishable in Idaho by up to 25 years in prison. He was tried on a charge of lewd conduct with a minor child under 16, punishable by up to life in prison, for having sex in October 2007 with the girl, a seventh grader who was in foster care at the time with Adamson's parents, Craig and Betty Adamson.
Wood ruled that Adamson is to serve six months in "retained jurisdiction," during which he will be offered sexual offender treatment. Adamson was taken into custody at the conclusion of the hearing for delivery to the Idaho Department of Corrections. Most likely, Adamson will be sent to the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood to serve his six-month sentence.
Wood also sentenced Adamson to a 10-year prison term, which the judge can later impose if Adamson fails at rehabilitation. Adamson would be required to serve three of those years before he would be eligible for parole. The judge further ordered Adamson to register as a sex offender and pay a $5,000 fine to the victim.
The Adamson interview with Morgan was conducted prior to a polygraph test administered as part of a psychosexual examination. Though the results of the polygraph test were not discussed during the hearing, Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas played a video of the interview and said it was proof that Adamson committed perjury during his trial.
"When he does get on the stand, he doesn't have the right to lie to the jury—and that's what he did," Thomas said.
Adamson discussed the interview on the witness stand prior to being sentenced.
"I thought he was trying to be my friend," Adamson said of Morgan. "That he was trying to help me. I was kind of baited."
"Did you have sex with that woman?" Adamson was asked by defense attorney Kevin Cassidy.
"No, I didn't," said Adamson, who insisted that he was intoxicated. "I have no recollection of anything happening at all. I woke up and she was in bed. I know she was in the bed. I think she was on top of me. I've gone to my bishop. I've talked to him and I didn't think I needed to confess."
Cassidy asked that his client be placed on probation. Thomas requested that Adamson be sent to prison.
Cassidy said that Adamson has no prior criminal record and that "there is no indication that he is a further risk to the community."
"He was aware that she was a troubled child," Thomas said. "He was well aware of her vulnerability. He used his position as a foster brother to get what he wanted. She wanted to please Brian. She was wanting acceptance."
About a dozen of Adamson's friends and family attended the hearing, including his grandparents, his parents and several younger brothers and sisters.
"I'm not a bad person," Adamson told the judge. "I've been involved in a lot of community service, community projects all my life.
"This has had a huge affect, not only on my family, but on my community as well. It's caused a lot of harm. I'm sorry for my community. I'm sorry for my family."
Wood said he was not going to consider numerous letters from friends and family of Adamson. One of them alluded to "a breakdown in the justice system" while another asked, "Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty," the judge said.
"The innocent-until-proven-guilty part is over," Wood said. "A jury of your peers in this community said they didn't believe you. I know that you don't agree with the jury, but the jury heard the evidence and made their verdict. I'm not here to impeach their verdict.
"What's happened here is you have put yourself in a terrible situation. The Idaho Legislature, in its collective wisdom, thinks quite poorly of this and that's why it has a 25-year maximum prison sentence."
"I've looked this up one side and down the other," said Wood as he held up a pre-sentence investigation report covered with tabs and markings as if it had been thoroughly perused. "In the PSI you maintained your complete innocence. On the stand, you didn't do that.
"There's nothing to rehabilitate at this point because you don't admit you've done anything wrong. You dearly need treatment."
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org