A Utah woman will spend time in jail over a sexual relationship with a teenage boy in 2016, but she won’t have to register as a sex offender after a plea deal took a sex crime off the table, East Idaho News reports.
District Judge Darren Simpson sentenced Amanda Katherine Steele, 35, to 90 days in jail with seven years probation. He suspended a three to 10-year prison sentence, although she may have to serve some or all of that if she violates probation.
Steele pleaded guilty this summer to two felony counts of injury to a child, but Simpson wanted to review all the facts of the case before deciding on a sentence.
Steele was originally charged with three felony counts of child sexual battery committed by lewd conduct after the Butte County Sheriff’s Office conducted a lengthy investigation that began in late 2017 with a phone call from Steele’s father-in-law, who said he’d heard rumors that teenage boys were hanging out with her at her home, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
According to the probable cause statement filed with her arrest in late 2019, deputies spoke with the victims at that time, and they were vague about their relations with Steele. One of the boys told deputies he saw the activity as consensual, saying he “didn’t think it was a big deal.”
Deputies spoke with Steele in April 2018, the court documents say, and she admitted boys came over to her house although she would not give their names. “I don’t really want to talk about it until I have to,” she told investigators who asked about inappropriate activities. One deputy wrote that she told him situations arose that “could lead someone to engage in sexual activity with an underage boy” without elaboration.
East Idaho News was unable to clarify what happened for the next 15 months, but in July 2019, Steele’s ex-husband contacted deputies. He reportedly told them he had not told the entire truth in 2018 because he wanted to save his marriage. This time, he reportedly told deputies that Steele had admitted to having sexual relations with the boys.
It remains unclear what happened over the next 15 months but in July 2019, Steele’s ex-husband contacted deputies about the allegations again. He had been present during the April 2018 interview and said he knew a lot about the alleged sexual activities. He said Steele admitted to engaging in sex with the underage boys but in the earlier interview, he was more concerned about saving their marriage than telling investigators the truth.
He even said that he’d returned home one day and found Steele and one of the victims in the couple’s hot tub and that Steele told him “he’s being ridiculous” when he tried to talk her into stopping the activity, the complaint said.
Investigators again spoke to one of the victims, who admitted that he’d been a minor when he had sex with Steele. He also said that he would skip school and Latter Day Saints seminary to go to Steele’s home.
“(The victim) told me he knew several of his friends had sex with her too but didn’t know anyone else besides (the second victim) had been under 18,” a deputy wrote in his report.
Simpson initially rejected Steele’s plea deal this summer, as CrimeOnline previously reported, but changed his mind after reviewing case law. Steele told the court that she had sex with the 17-year-old at least once at his home and once at her home. The amended charges covered only one victim.
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[Featured image: Amanda Katherine Steele/Butte County Sheriff’s Office]