No prison time for man who groped grade-schoolers

Jul 19, 2017 From staff reports

Charles Baldes, who fondled multiple students at Rendezvous Elementary School, is set to be sentenced to five years of supervised probation after he pleads guilty to third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Under a plea agreement reached this month, Baldes's prison sentence of four to seven years will be suspended.

Baldes's probation is set to include sex offender counseling, and he will be ordered to not have contact with any children except for his own.

If district court judge Norman Young rejects the plea deal, Baldes will have the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea.

The investigation into Baldes's behavior began after Rendezvous principal Karley Ward told Riverton Police Department Sgt. Charlie Marshall that Baldes, a paraprofessional, had been filmed placing his hand on a student's buttocks.

Marshall learned that Baldes had a habit of such behavior, and one student said "Baldes was always hitting her in the buttocks with dodge balls while in gym class," according to a police affidavit.

After one student's bottom was "squeezed" by Baldes, she tried to avoid him, but he "would call her over and tell her to give him a hug."

Baldes was fired after the activity was discovered.

He then texted Ward, saying, "I don't know why I did it, but it happened, and I am very sorry."

"Me losing my job is exactly what I deserve," he told the principal.

When detective Jacob Nation interrogated Baldes, the defendant admitted the butt-grabbing brought him sexual gratification.

"At the very beginning, it was curiosity, and then after that it felt good, and I wanted to do it again," Baldes said. "It wouldn't go any further than that, and I'm not going to lie, it probably would've happened again."