District Judge Juneal Kerrick sentenced a 38-year-old man on Monday to 40 years in prison for making child pornography and sexually abusing a minor.
Jason Travis Simon, of Caldwell, was arrested after an Amber Alert had been issued for three children he was believed to be with in June. At the time, law enforcement said he was traveling with his girlfriend, Sarah Joy VanOcker-Dunn, and the children.
He pleaded guilty to eight felony counts of manufacturing sexually exploitative material and one felony count of sexual abuse of a minor younger than 16.
Kerrick sentenced Simon to 10 years fixed, followed 20 years indeterminate, on the eight counts of making child porn and 10 years indeterminate for the sexual abuse of a minor charge.
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The sentences will run consecutively for a total unified sentence of 40 years in prison.
Simon was arrested in June on a felony warrant following an investigation by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell Police Department that revealed he was in possession of multiple images of child pornography, including several photos and videos showing an 8-year-old girl that were manufactured by Simon himself.
The victim later told detectives that Simon, who was in a position of trust with the victim, was the one who took the pictures and videos of her. She told detectives that she and Simon would go on secret “dates” together and that he would offer her candy and money in exchange for her cooperation.
“Frankly, I’ve never had a case that concerned me like this has in terms of long-term impact on the victim and the long-term harm you pose,” Kerrick said at sentencing, according to a Canyon County news release.
Kerrick also ordered Simon to register as a sex offender, submit a DNA sample to the Idaho DNA database, and have no contact with the victim or her family for the duration of the sentence. Simon was also ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty.
“Mr. Simon used his position of trust with this innocent young girl to groom her and incentivize her into doing things that no young girl should ever have to do,” said Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor in the news release. “This was a horrific crime that is going to have a lasting impact on a lot of people, and I’m thankful that Mr. Simon will be behind bars so they can begin the healing process.”