Steven Sitler: Hearing to Reinstate Chaperones

Picking up in the middle of Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson’s argument at 32:49 of the recording:

Dave Sitler (grandfather & money), Roxanne Sitler (grandmother), Katie Sitler (wife), Steven Sitler (pedo).

Dave Sitler (grandfather & money), Roxanne Sitler (grandmother), Katie Sitler (wife), Steven Sitler (pedo).

Judge John Stegner

Judge John Stegner

. . . Unfortunately, the history in this case is that whenever Mr. Sitler doesn’t get what he wants, he comes running to the court, asking the court to excuse him from complying with what the Department of Correction expects of him as his supervisors. It’s been going on since he went on probation in 2007. The State finds it interesting that Mr. Sitler wants to point back to statements made in this court last September about the possible reinstatement of chaperones and reunification, when in fact Mr. Sitler also wants to completely disregard the statements made in this courtroom on June 1st, 2011. This situation is entirely of Mr. Sitler’s creation. He and his wife and family were put on clear notice back in 2011 that were they to have a child, Mr. Sitler would be expected to leave the family home. And I go back to the transcript of that hearing, which I think the Court has been, umm, referenced to in the past and the Court’s own statements, and this one came from Probation — there was testimony from Probation & Parole, there was acknowledgement from Mr. Wullenwaber that the introduction of a child would have ramifications; ahh, there were State representations by myself — ummm — Mr. Sitler was advised,

“If and when Mr. Sitler and Miss Travis have children, we will cross that bridge when we get to it — or, if we need to address it sooner than that, I am happy to address it sooner than that. But I think it’s a reasonable restriction that he not reside with his wife and child, in the future, if in fact they have children.”

Team Sitler: Attorneys Dean Wullenwaber & Mark Monson

Team Sitler: Attorneys Dean Wullenwaber & Mark Monson

With that knowledge, with that expectation — these are going to be my words, my characterization, not the Department of Correction’s characterization — Mr. Sitler irresponsibly and recklessly brought this child — this innocent child — into this untenable situation. But for him to claim it’s somehow the State’s fault — that we have to solve his problem for him — is not appropriate. He knew what was coming, Judge. And once again, he wants it his way and he will complain until he gets it his way. So the State doesn’t have any sympathy for Mr. Sitler; we certainly have sympathy and concern for his child. And I would suggest, Your Honor, that the State’s concerns are not speculative. If you look at the C notes that were appended to the filings, ahh, date stamp number, umm, page 243, this is regarding a June 22nd, 2016, meeting that Mr. Sitler had with the probation office. So date stamp 243 at the bottom; they were discussing chaperones and the reinstatement of chaperones, and according to the C notes,

“The defendant became defensive when I tried to explain to him the protective factors regarding the future situations that may arise with his son and potentially other children. The defendant states, it is not our job to protect his child; it is his and his son will know who he is. He stated his children will not go to public schools, as they will be homeschooled and never at risk from community influence.”

That is scary, Judge. That is a declaration that Mr. Sitler intends to hide his children from public scrutiny — from the protection that other eyes can give — isolating them for his own good, for his own protection — not for anything else. That is a legitimate concern.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson

And then we look at Mrs. Katie Sitler’s affidavit. And bless her, maybe she didn’t really know what she was getting into with this — but it is clear from the tone of her affidavit, and I don’t dispute that those are her words — they don’t sound like lawyer’s words, and we both know lawyers tend to write affidavits for people or to help them with wording — but she does not trust at all Probation & Parole. She seriously minimizes what occurred last year and what was disclosed. She describes those events as quote, “The split-second chest incident,” closed quotes, and quote, “The fleeting thoughts with no act associated with the baby’s sucking” closed quotes. She is substantially minimizing what happened. She is substantially minimizing where that behavior could have led to, with their own child. And then she goes on to say — I’m looking at page 2 of her affidavit — “If any of those things occurred today, I would see to it that Steven would immediately call VTS and I would call VTS.” And she says that a couple times about calling VTS. What is noteworthy is nowhere does she say that she will notify Probation & Parole. And her obligation as a chaperone is not to notify VTS; her obligation as a chaperone is to notify Probation & Parole. And frankly, Judge, this is understandable. We’re talking about the man she married — her husband. No doubt in their wedding vows, they had respect for each other. They promised to protect each other. And she knows what’s on the line for Mr. Sitler. If he screws up, he could go to prison for the rest of his life. Pretty high stakes, when she compares them to what she sees as a “split-second chest incident” and “fleeting thoughts with no act associated with the baby’s sucking.” So, Judge, the State is very concerned. We aren’t trying to point blame or press fault or say that “Katie Sitler is a bad person” — she is not. But she is in a completely untenable situation, and the Department’s caution in reconsidering her chaperone status is legitimate, and factually and practically justified.

I spoke a little bit about the history of the defendant’s pattern of impatience: He wants it his way, right away, and if not, he’ll make enough noise about it until he gets it his way, right away. And I looked back through the summary of C notes that was appended to the State’s Initial Response to the Defendant’s Motion in this case, Your Honor, and specifically noted an August 17, 2007, email from Steve Lindsley, who, Your Honor is aware, was the principal at Valley Treatment Specialties until he retired. This is August 7th, 2007, an email — apparently sent to me — but copied to the Department so it appears in their C notes —

“Bill, I read the email sent to you by Wullenwaber. It seems he wants to keep pushing an issue until he gets what he wants. We do not appreciate him trying to put the finger on VTS because Probation & Parole have placed restrictions on him (Steven) they do not like. At this point I am going to talk with Dalton and David about whether or not we want to continue to work with Steven in therapy. If we’re going to constantly run up against these kinds of issues, then it might be time to have him go elsewhere. What Wullenwaber and his family don’t seem to realize is that Steven is a fixed pedophile and is at very high risk. Their lack of real cooperation and wanting to keep the secrecy issues going are helping to keep his risk high. They further do not be taking this as serious as they should be. . .”

And the email goes on from there — this isn’t new. This is 2007, Judge, almost — well, nine years ago, when Mr. Sitler was first going on probation, and the State is concerned that that mindset and that attitude hasn’t changed, as evidenced by Mr. Sitler’s own statements to his probation officer so recently that I just referred to, about isolating the family from public — from the public eye — and the from the safety that that can afford them.

And I have to say, Judge, it’s getting to the point where the State is more and more concerned that Mr. Sitler is behaving as though he’s really not amenable to being safely supervised in the community. He resists at every instance when he disagrees with what he’s being told with — despite the substantial risk factors; despite substantial history of sexual abuse that he has committed.

I was sitting yesterday kind of thinking about being here today and wondering, “Well, you know, if we had the situation as we know it today and Mr. Sitler was just coming back from a rider at that point in time, what would we be looking at for a sentence?” And I went and looked at the factors of Idaho 19-2521 Subsection 2 that as Your Honor is aware are factors according weight in favor of avoiding a sentence of imprisonment, and I’m stunned to see how many of those factors the State believes the answer would be “no,” if Your Honor was sentencing this man today — that

“The defendant’s criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened harm.”

Not at all, that’s not the case.

“The defendant did not contemplate that his conduct would cause or threaten harm.”

That factor doesn’t exist.

“The defendant acted under a strong provocation.”

That factor does not exist.

“There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or justify the defendant’s criminal conduct.”

That’s not in existence in this case.

“The victim” — the victims — “of the defendant’s criminal conduct induced or facilitated the commission of the crime.”

Certainly not the case.

“The defendant has no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present crime.”

And we know that that’s not the case — he had multiple victims over an extended period of time.

“The defendant’s criminal conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur.”

The State would submit that’s not the case. And finally,

“The character and attitudes of the defendant indicate that the commission of another crime is unlikely.”

And this is a man who once again regularly fights with his probation officer; is not willing to submit to their legal authority to supervise him; wants it his way, all the time, every way.

So that brings me to the State’s position. . . .