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Jamestown man gets 7 years for sex crime

JAMESTOWN — A 24-year-old Jamestown man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual acts with a minor.

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Richard Etter appeared Tuesday before Judge John Greenwood in Southeast District Court for sentencing on the following charges:

- One charge of gross sexual imposition with a minor under the age of 15.

- Two charges of corruption of a minor.

- Two charges of delivery of alcohol beverages to (a) person under 21 years of age.

- One charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Etter said before sentencing that he was taking responsibility and apologizing for his actions.

“I know what I did was wrong, and I am truly sorry from my actions,” he said. “I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, (but) that’s no excuse.”

On the gross sexual imposition charge, Etter was sentenced to seven years with the North Dakota Department of Corrections with credit for time served in home confinement. He will serve 10 years of supervised probation and register as a sex offender for 25 years upon his release from prison.

He will serve the following prison terms concurrently with the main sentence:

- Five years for corruption of a minor.

- One year for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

- Six months for delivery of alcohol.

Etter will also undergo treatment and counseling for substance abuse and as a sex offender while in prison and during probation.

According to the criminal complaint, between Dec. 25, 2012, and Jan. 21, Etter engaged in sexual acts with a minor who was under the age of 15 at the time and other minors when Etter was 23. He also allowed minors to consume alcohol during the same time period.

William Mackenzie, Etter’s attorney, said 16 letters of support for Etter were submitted by family, friends and employers. Mackenzie said most of the letter writers know Etter “had a big lapse in judgment,” but that he is also a good person.

Mackenzie recommended no prison time for Etter, 10 years of supervised probation, continued treatment and counseling for substance abuse and possible sexual addiction, and 1,200 hours community service.

Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen recommended 15 years in prison and supervised probation for life after Etter was released from prison.

“We had a 23-year-old who ought to know that having sex with a 14-year-old is illegal,” Fremgen said. “Mr. Etter knew what he was doing was wrong, yet he continued to do it.”

Etter has been under house confinement, with work release for the last 10 months, according to Mackenzie. Greenwood granted a request from Etter to continue house arrest through noon Dec. 26 so he can spend time with his family.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454