Valerie Lieteau, accused of sexual misconduct with several incarcerated boys, was scheduled to stand trial next week, but a successful lie-detector test Thursday morning ended the case.
"I think justice was served," Lieteau's attorney, Jon Cox, said. "From the very beginning Valerie was adamant that this didn't happen."
All four felony charges — two of sexual battery of a child 16 or 17 and two of sexual contact with an inmate — were dismissed. The charges centered on three male teens held in the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections facility in Nampa, where Lieteau worked as a nurse between 2008 and 2011, Cox said.
The defense attorney commended deputy prosecutor Erica Kallin and her office for taking action to seek the truth of the case.
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“We trust the results of appropriately worded and professionally administered polygraphs, and as prosecutors, we have a professional and ethical obligation to not move forward when there is compelling evidence that would negate the charges," Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said in a news release. "That’s what happened in this case, and that’s why we made the decision to dismiss in the interests of justice.”
Prosecutors requested polygraph testing in this case because of concerns over a lack of physical evidence, witnesses and corroborative details, according to the county news release. Polygraph results are not admissible in court, but they are commonly used to help build or resolve cases.
Cox told the Statesman that Lieteau took one polygraph test Wednesday and it turned out inconclusive, so "she said she'd take another one. Because she knew."
The second test showed her as "plainly truthful," according to the county news release.
Lieteau had agreed to plead guilty if she failed the exam, prosecutors said, but they did not say what sentence they would have requested under the agreement. If she was tried and convicted of the sex crimes, she could have faced up to life in prison.
Lieteau still faces a civil lawsuit that involves the three plaintiffs in the criminal case plus several other juvenile detention inmates who were recently added to the civil case.
Cox said he believes the polygraph results bolster Lieteau's chances of beating the lawsuit, since her responses denied any inappropriate activity with any inmate.
Lieteau, who now lives in California, has been on pre-trial release on $100,000 bond. With all of the charges now dropped, Cox said, her bond and her passport were returned.
"She finally gets to move on with her life, and she can still be a nurse," Cox said. "I don't know if she wants to be a nurse now, but she can."
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447