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Sex offender's probation is rescinded
Oct 8, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
After admitting to having sex with two teenage boys, a 32-year-old Riverton woman in March 2012 was given a sentence that gave her a chance to reform herself or face significant prison time.
"I think it's enough time to cause her to grow up a little bit," deputy Fremont County prosecutor Patrick LeBrun said at the time.
But on Friday a judge decided Sloan Lane had not grown up enough.
"The defendant seems to misunderstand the terms and conditions of probation -- that there's multiple chances to meet those terms and conditions," District Court Judge Marvin L .Tyler of Sublette County said.
Lane admitted to six of nine alleged violations of her probation conditions at the hearing. Despite her promises to not break the rules again and
requests for a second chance at supervised probation, Tyler ordered her to serve the prison time that had been stipulated in her sentence but suspended in favor of probation.
In 2010, Tyler sentenced Lane according to a plea agreement, which gave her one year in prison for misdemeanor sexual battery plus two, concurrent three- to five-year prison terms for two counts of third-degree sexual abuse of minor. The two, three- to five-year terms were suspended in favor of eight years probation.
Before the recent hearing got under way, Lane told the judge she wanted to proceed without a lawyer.
Tyler had told her she would likely not qualify for a public defender, but the defendant did not think she could afford a private attorney.
"I'm not trying to deceive anybody today," Lane said.
Lane's original probation terms severely limited her Internet access because she contacted her victims online. Many of the her probation officer's allegations were that Lane broke those restrictions.
The six violations the defendant admitted to were possessing a cell phone with a camera and Internet access, using the Internet without her probation officer's permission, having a password-protected file system called Dropbox on her phone, failing to abide by the officer's directive to provide a password for another password-protected file program, and two instances of associating with a person deemed inappropriate by her probation officer -- a man on parole and another in prison named Michael Giroux.
Lane denied three alleged infractions: possessing the second password-protected file system called Vault, possessing a third password-protected file system that also deleted files after they are viewed called Snapchat, and possessing pornography.
"The porn was a picture of cartoons giving oral sex," Fremont County deputy attorney Ember Oakley said.
Under questioning, Lane played down the severity of her infractions. According to her, she only used the Internet on her phone to look up restaurants, and used Dropbox for work. She did not know the program had a password, she said, and was also unaware Vault was on her device.
Lane did not provide the password to Vault because she had forgotten, she told the judge. She only saw the man on parole through her work and as a customer at his business.
As for the prisoner, she only sent him letters and did not think it was against the rules because he was still in prison, Lane said.
Oakley was not persuaded, and neither was Tyler.
"You kind of hear some minimization," the prosecutor said. "The cell phone and the Internet is how Ms. Lane found her victims, so it's very, very material (to her probation)."
Oakley parried Lane's claims of ignorance saying the court and her probation officer explained the terms and conditions of her probation several times. The defendant even sought permission to write to another inmate, showing she knew she should not have contacted prisoners without prior approval.
The prosecutor decided to drop the three allegations Lane denied.
"They don't get us anywhere different (from the six Lane admitted too)," Oakley said.
The prosecutor asked the judge to send Lane to prison for the three- to five-year term.
"There has not been a taking of accountability for the crimes she did or trying to improve herself," she said. "We're starting to see the behavior that's prohibited."
Lane asked Tyler to put her back on probation, with stricter conditions if necessary.
"I'm willing to follow all probation's rules if I'm given another chance," she said.
The judge showed he did not believe Lane didn't know the conditions of her probation and could not understand why she broke them.
"I find it rather incredible that the defendant maintains these were all innocent violations of her probation all stemming from her possession of a piece of technology she wasn't supposed to possess in the first place," he said.
Lane interrupted him, to complain her probation officer never checked what kind of cell phone she had.
"See, you have it turned around," Tyler retorted. "It's your responsibility to comply with probation terms, not their responsibility to check up to make sure you're complying."
Lane's next excuse was that it is impossible to find a phone without Internet capability anymore.
Even if the device could go online, she could have refrained from doing so, Tyler countered.
After Lane's litany of excuses, the judge sentenced her to serve her original concurrent three- to five-year terms. She will get credit for 13 days served.