Crime

Former Nampa juvenile corrections nurse charged with sex crimes

Valerie Kristen Lieteau, 41, was being held Monday in Southern California, where she was arrested for drunken driving.

Lieuteau was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a minor and two counts of sexual contact with a juvenile inmate, in a case unsealed Friday in 3rd District Court in Caldwell.

She is the second former juvenile corrections worker to face criminal charges involving sex with inmates. Julie McCormick, now 33, the center’s former director of safety and security, was convicted on a lewd conduct charge and sent to prison in March 2014. She was accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy in 2012. She is accused in the lawsuit of having sex with a second boy.

Revelations of sexual abuse brought Nampa’s criminal investigation and led to the retirement of the center's superintendent and the firing of several employees. It also caused the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections to institute changes to protect the safety of youthful offenders at the 84-bed Nampa center, as well as those in Lewiston and St. Anthony.

Lieuteau was arrested last Tuesday in San Bernardino County, Calif., on two counts of driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to Superior Court of San Bernardino County records. She was being held on a warrant out of Nampa.

“The victims are relieved to hear the news that Ms. Lieteau will be brought to justice, finally,” said Nampa lawyer Bruce Skaug, who represents three boys who allege in a lawsuit that Lieteau sexually abused them.

Lieteau denied to Nampa police that she did anything improper. In an interview with detective Angela Weekes in April 2014, she said she conducted monthly classes on sexually transmitted diseases and that her interaction with inmates “was purely professional,” and she was never alone with the inmates.

All of the following accounts that Lieuteau acted inappropriately are according to the lawsuit:

Lieteau took one 18-year-old into a private examination room or other areas out of camera range between July 2009 and March 2010 and had sex with him at least 15 times. Lieteau, who was in her mid-30s at the time, also reportedly went to the boy’s hometown at least twice and had sex with him there, after his release.

The victim told Weekes that Lieteau began by inappropriately touching his upper leg while he was at a dentist appointment and later progressed to sex.

She provided the boy with street drugs while he was at the center and stalked him by telephone and through text messages after he left . The boy said he feared for his safety after she threatened him.

She had sex with a second inmate on “numerous occasions” beginning in December 2008, when he was 18. She also took him to a private examination room and to her home when he was granted home passes. The relationship lasted until February 2012, after the boy was released from the center, and when Lieteau no longer worked there.

The lawsuit accuses Lieteau of intimidating the second boy and threatening him with serious consequences — even after he was released from custody later in 2009 — if he told anyone about their sexual relationship.

The same boy was allegedly sexually abused by a female medical student intern at the detention center. The lawsuit accuses the intern and Lieteau of holding animosity toward each other over the boy.

The third victim Lieteau abused was 17 when they had sex at Lieteau’s house while he was out on a pass. The boy later showed signs of mental and emotional distress.

Previous Statesman efforts to contact Lieteau were unsuccessful.

The three boys are among nine males and one female who allege that they were sexually abused by multiple workers at the juvenile center.

It’s unclear how long it will take for Lieteau to arrive in Idaho. She could voluntarily waive extradition or force Idaho officials to go to court, requiring Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign an extradition order. The hearings process could take several weeks.

It is also unknown whether California will want to prosecute the driving under the influence case before allowing Lieteau to be taken to Idaho. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on May 28 in Victorville Superior Court.

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