A Canyon County man is accused of sexually abusing four children, ages 1 to 13, over two decades.
Lester Kester, 48, was arrested Wednesday on four felony counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 16. Court records show the alleged crimes occurred between 1997 and 2018.
Sarah Kester, Lester Kester’s 50-year-old wife, allegedly knew about the sexual abuse and still left one of the children with Lester Kester, according to court records. She is charged with felony injury to a child.
One of Lester Kester’s suspected victims is believed to have been abused for a full decade, from ages 3 to 13. Two others might have been abused for even longer, from ages 1 to 13. The fourth told investigators of abuse at the ages of 12 and 13, according to court records.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Children and Family Services contacted the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office on June 21 and informed detectives that a young girl had been molested. Three other suspected victims have subsequently come forward. One told police she was sexually abused as recently as 2016.
During an interview with law enforcement on July 11, Sarah Kester admitted to detectives that she learned of Lester’s actions approximately 17 years ago, and again when she was confronted by them approximately three years ago, according to a Canyon County Sheriff’s Office news release.
“Sarah Lester told detectives that she didn’t report the abuse because it was against her belief system to involve agencies such as law enforcement, child protection services, or counseling services” into personal matters, according to the release. “Instead, she said she attempted to protect her children through praying for ‘the demon’ to leave Lester and attempting to keep him busy with other tasks.”
His bond is set at $500,000. Sarah Kester’s bond is set at $25,000. On Friday, they both remained in custody at the Canyon County jail.
Sarah Kester’s next court appearance is set for July 26; Lester Kester’s next appearance is not set, according to online schedules.
If convicted, each count of lewd conduct is punishable by up to life in prison. Felony injury to a child is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.