By Samantha Pidde
No expression showed on Jason Boutwell’s face Thursday as a District Court judge ordered him to serve as much as 75 years in prison for sexually abusing and exploiting a child.
The 33-year-old Clinton man will serve 52 1/2 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Boutwell was convicted of seven counts of second-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony, and 60 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class C felony, on March 5, after the state proved that between February 2006 and January 2012, he engaged in sexual contact with a child younger than the age of 12 at least seven times and had the victim engage in sex acts or pose nude or provocatively for the purpose of being photographed.
Judge Stuart Werling ordered the Clinton man to serve as much as 75 years in prison during the sentencing.
The child, who at one time considered the defendant a father, decided not to attend the sentencing. Instead, Carena Clark, from the Clinton office of the Iowa Department of Human Services, spoke for the victim.
“(The victim) feels like you have already squandered enough of the precious moments of her life,” Clark told Boutwell.
The girl testified during Boutwell’s trial. She identified photos taken by Boutwell which featured herself in a sexual nature.
Clark told the court Thursday that the child was anxious about facing her abuser again in court and wanted to put this entire thing behind her. However, she added the child wanted to ensure he was sent somewhere so he could not harm other children.
“(The victim) loved you and trusted you as her own father,” Clark said. “You took her trust. You took her love. You took her loyalty. You took her family. You took her childhood.”
Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow agreed with the recommendations of the the pre-sentencing investigation report, which suggested that Boutwell serve as much as 25 years each for three of the class B felony charges, consecutive with each other and as much as 10 years each for three of the class C felonies, consecutive with each other. The 75 and 30 years would run concurrently, or at the same time. Sentences from the remaining 61 charges would run concurrently.
Defense Attorney Bruse Ingham argued that this recommendation would essentially equal a life sentence for his client. Iowa law requires him to serve a minimum of 70 percent or 17 1/2 years for each of the 25-year sentences. He told the court that if the state legislature had believed life sentences were appropriate for these charges, the crime would be class A felonies.
Ingham asked instead that his client be ordered to serve all of his sentences concurrently. This would require him to spend a minimum of 17 1/2 years in prison, which Ingham said should be sufficient to protect the public and punish Boutwell.
Werling said that due to both the seriousness of the crimes and Boutwell’s lack of remorse, he agreed with the PSI recommendation. Boutwell also must provide a DNA sample and is prohibited from having any contact with the victim. After finishing his prison sentence, he will serve a lifetime sentence of parole as a sex offender for each count.
Samantha Pidde can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.