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Former Bingham Sheriff sentenced to 10 days in jail

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - Former Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland was sentenced on aggravated assault charges Tuesday to 10 days in jail and serve probation for three years for pulling a gun on a church youth group.

District Judge Stephen Dunn handed down the sentence after listening to the testimonies of the young ladies involved.

Many of the girls were fighting back tears as they talked about how this event has changed their lives. 

They spoke about frequent nightmares, the fear of going up and knocking on doors, and the fear of law enforcement, all of them speaking about trust issues. One of the girls said, "If I can't trust the sheriff, who can I trust?" 

Another victim said she had been accused of ruining a good man's life.  To that remark, Judge Dunn adamantly said, "Anyone who said that should be deeply ashamed of themselves."

Rowland pleaded guilty to the charges under a plea agreement with prosecutors on Aug. 22. He stepped down as sheriff on Aug. 1.

On Nov. 9, 2021, Rowland pulled a gun on two girls and their youth group leaders after the youth knocked on his door and left, leaving thank you notes posted to his door. It was part of an activity they were doing in the neighborhood.

Rowland was accused of dragging one of the leaders out of their car, holding a gun to her head and threatening to shoot her.

Rowland told investigators he was on edge because of past experiences with, in his own words, "drunk Indians" from the reservation.

Rowland's sentence includes 10 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, no contact with the victims for 5 years, along with 3 years supervised probation and meet with a therapist at least six times during probation.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden provided this statement after the verdict saying, “The defendant’s actions that night last November broke Idaho law. Now he will suffer the appropriate consequences. Our system worked and justice has been served."

“I want to take a moment to thank the victims for their willingness to participate as witnesses in the case. Doing so was very difficult at times, but each one showed bravery well beyond their years. I commend them for their steadfastness and recognize that without them, justice would not have been served,” Wasden said.

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