Bryan Taylor, Canyon County Prosecutor, announced that Steven J. Bennett, age 50, of Caldwell, was sentenced on July 9 by the Honorable Gene A. Petty for the felony crimes of Lewd Conduct with a Minor Under Sixteen and Sexual Abuse of a Minor. Bennett was found guilty on both charges by a jury of his peers following a trial in April.
Judge Petty sentenced Bennett to 12 years fixed, followed by 18 years indeterminate, on the lewd conduct charge, and 12 years fixed, followed by 13 years indeterminate, on the sexual abuse charge. The sentences will run concurrently for a total unified sentence of 30 years in prison. Judge Petty also ordered Bennett to register as a sex offender, submit a DNA sample to the Idaho database, and have no contact with the victim or any minor females for a period of 60 years. Bennett was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and $5,000 civil penalty to the victim.
Bennett was arrested on a felony warrant in January 2020 following an investigation by the Caldwell Police Department that revealed he had sexually abused an underage female victim numerous times over the course of several months while she was staying at his residence in Caldwell. The 9-year-old victim told police that Bennett touched her inappropriately on multiple occasions. The victim also told detectives that Bennett exposed himself to her and made her touch his genitals numerous times. She also told police that Bennett made her watch pornography several times during the course of the abuse.
“The defendant in this case was in a position of trust with the victim, and he used that trust to take advantage of her for his own sexual gratification,” said Prosecutor Bryan Taylor. “This lengthy prison sentence gives the victim the peace of mind that he can never hurt her or anyone again.”