Former Eagle man who sexually abused exchange student sent to prison

June 25, 2014 

Gerald Lee Farrell, Jr., 47, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for abusing a 16-year-old German exchange student Farrell and his wife hosted more than a decade ago.

Farrell fled the United States 10 months before a federal grand jury indicted him in October 2004. He was arrested in Spain in July 2013 and extradited to the United States in December.

Farrell pleaded guilty March 17 to interstate travel with a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and possessing sexually explicit images of minors.

“This defendant preyed upon a vulnerable foreign exchange student, new to this country, who did not speak English as her first language,” U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson said in a written statement.

The exchange student started living with the Farrells in August 2003, and throughout the fall, Gerald Farrell sought various opportunities to observe the girl nude or partially nude and engaged her in conversations of a sexual nature, according to the plea agreement.

At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors introduced evidence that Farrell installed hidden cameras in the girl's bedroom and in a bathroom that she used. The camera recorded video of the girl changing her clothers and going in and out of the shower.

In December 2003, Farrell took the girl to Nevada. One night, she woke up to find the defendant lying across her stomach and trying to remove her panties, but she was able to push him away, according to court documents.

The girl told others about Farrell’s conduct when they returned to Idaho, and Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies executed a search warrant at Farrell’s Eagle home in January 2004, seizing his computer and other items. Video files of minors (not the exchange student) engaging in sexually explicit conduct were found on the seized hard drive, according to the plea agreement.

Farrell and his wife fled Idaho for Switzerland approximately a week later, according to court documents.

Farrell had faced up to 30 years in prison on the interstate travel charge and up to 10 years for possession of sexually explicit images of minors. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

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