Probation officer for Sitler hopes for more guidance from treatment center
By Samantha Malott, Daily News staff writer
In a special progress report, Steven Sitler’s new probation officer has reported that new and recently suspended chaperones, including his wife and parents, are in the process of seeking approval again.
Chris Jensen, senior probation and parole officer with the Idaho Department of Corrections, reported in papers submitted to the court Dec. 21 he would also like more guidance from Valley Treatment Specialities over Sitler’s living arrangements and contact with victims.
Sitler was sentenced to life in prison with retained jurisdiction in September 2006 under a Rule 11 plea agreement with the state for lewd conduct with a child under 16. He served one year with the IDOC and less than a year in the custody of the Latah County Jail before being released onto a life term of probation. One term of his probation prohibits Sitler from having contact with anyone under the age of 18.
Jensen said in his report that Sitler was diagnosed as a “fixated pedophile in 2005 who under no circumstances should be allowed to be around children unsupervised.”
The 30-year-old Moscow man returned to court in August after the state was made aware he and his wife had given birth to their first child. At that time, he was granted permission to live with his family until a second hearing.
In September the state reported self-disclosures from Sitler’s recent polygraph test of “contact with his child that resulted in actual sexual stimulation.” The judge then ordered he must have an approved chaperone within direct line-of-sight anytime he is with his child. His wife and parents were disqualified as approved chaperones at the time due to failure to report incidents and disclosures.
In Jensen’s special progress report he stated all three were allowed to undergo chaperone classes in November, along with five new chaperones. Sitler already has seven state-approved chaperones, he said.
All possible new chaperones still need to have a final approval meeting with Jensen before they can begin, he said. Sitler’s mother and the five new chaperones will likely finish the process by February, he said.
Sitler’s wife and father, though, will need to meet with Valley Treatment Specialties one-on-one first to address previous reporting issues and provide documentation to the IDOC that they can meet chaperone requirements, he said.
Latah County 2nd District Judge John Stegner has not directly ruled whether Sitler can live with his wife and child, only that he must have a “line-of-sight” chaperone present at all times he is with the child. Still, Jensen said, the IDOC directed Sitler over the summer not to live with his family until further notice “due to the issues involving his deviant sexual fantasies regarding the infant.”
No decision has been made to allow him to move back home as Valley Treatment Specialties has not addressed the issue, Jensen said in his report. Sitler is required to keep his address current with Jensen and is not permitted to move without prior permission.
Jensen also said he would like Valley Treatment Specialties to make a treatment decision as far as contact with victims goes. Granting that contact isn’t within the scope of practice for the IDOC, he said.
The concern comes for individuals who may not know they were victimized, even if their parents may be aware of the victimization, he said.
“The secrecy surrounding this issue has been portrayed as wanting to protect the victims from finding out they are victims or otherwise ‘protecting their anonymity,’” he said.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told the Daily News in October the state discovered multiple victims through self-disclosures by Sitler but, due to limited cooperation from victims and their families, only one could be prosecuted.
- Chris Jensen is a senior probation and parole officer with the Idaho Department of Corrections. She was incorrectly identified as a male in a story on Page One of the Wednesday edition, due to Daily News error.