MOSCOW, Idaho — A man convicted of raping a woman outside a University of Idaho fraternity house has had his conviction and sentence vacated and he has been resentenced to probation.
Jesse Vierstra on Monday entered an Alford plea to the charge of assault with intent to commit a serious felony as part of a settlement his attorneys reached with the prosecution, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported . He was resentenced to 10 years of probation.
Latah County 2nd District Judge Jay Gaskill vacated the rape conviction and credited Vierstra with the three and a half years he already served.
“Treatment is the ultimate goal in this case and the ability to protect society, which I see would be served more by treatment than continued confinement,” Gaskill said. “It basically puts the ball in your court.”
Vierstra will immediately enroll in a sex offender treatment program in Twin Falls.
Court records state that Vierstra, a former UI student, had attended a fraternity party at the university in October 2012. The victim testified during the trial that Vierstra had held her down and raped her outside the building.
At Monday’s hearing, a victim impact statement cited the hardships the victim has endured since the rape. In the statement, the victim wrote that Vierstra’s early release has intensified her suffering.
“I am frightened that he may harm me,” the statement reads. “I’m horrified that he may harm someone else.”
Vierstra had appealed his conviction, arguing that his attorneys weren’t prepared for his March 2013 trial.
“I’ve spent a long time in prison and it’s been a very tough road for both families,” Vierstra said. “And my greatest recognition and one undeniable fact that I have for myself is I wish I would have been a better man. I wish I would have had more respect for (the victim) back then.”
Information from: The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, http://www.dnews.com