TWIN FALLS — In a surprise move, a former Twin Falls patrol officer pleaded guilty Thursday morning.
William Anthon Jansen will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. May 21 in Twin Falls, defense attorney Joe Filicetti said Thursday afternoon.
“We have a plea bargain,” Filicetti said.
A teenage girl came forward with the allegations in late March last year, saying Jansen sexually abused her in 2008 and 2009 when she was between 7 and 9 years old. She told a sheriff’s detective that Jansen also abused at least two other girls — one who has since died and another who said Jansen abused her in 2005 and 2006 when she was 8 years old. Jansen is accused of touching the then-preteen girls’ genitals with his hands when he was in his early 20s.
One of the girls is now an adult; the other will turn 18 soon, according to Ada County deputy prosecutor Kassandra Slaven.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the charges were amended from four counts of lewd conduct with a minor to two counts of sexual abuse of a minor under 16. Jansen has agreed to take a psycho-sexual evaluation, and the severity of his sentence could be determined by the results of that evaluation.
If the evaluation shows he has a low risk of re-offending, Jansen could get probation with one year of county jail time. If he is a moderate to high risk, the court could retain jurisdiction through a prison-run therapeutic program.
“However, the ultimate sentence Jansen receives will be determined by Judge (John) Butler at the time of sentencing,” Slaven said Thursday afternoon, “and that could include prison time.”
Jansen is also required to register as a sex offender, she said. He is out of jail pending sentencing.
“We are pleased with the outcome and appreciate the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office’s work on the case,” Slaven said. “We feel it’s a good outcome for the victims.”
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs handed the case over to the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office to avoid conflict. Jansen was a Twin Falls officer when charged in April.
“It was unusual,” Loebs said of the guilty plea. “It was in the middle of the trial.”
The victims testified in court Tuesday, followed Wednesday by Jansen’s ex-wives, Nicole Mathis and Amanda Barnes. Mathis and Barnes both testified that Jansen had confessed during their marriages to abusing young girls.
Prosecutors Slaven and Abby Kostecka rested their case against Jansen Wednesday afternoon. Filicetti was set to begin Jansen’s defense Thursday morning.
Jansen pleaded guilty at about 9 a.m., Filicetti said.
“Ada County did a fine job,” Loebs said, “and I’m happy it worked out.”