Robert G. Vandecoevering was sentenced Wednesday to at least 7, and up to 15, years in prison for felony sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16.
Vandecoevering initially was charged with having sexual contact with three underage boys, but two charges each of sexual abuse and lewd conduct were dismissed in return for the suspect's guilty plea to one sexual abuse charge.
Third District Judge Christopher S. Nye ordered Vandecoevering to register as a sex offender and have no contact with the three victims' families or any minor children for the duration of his sentence.
Vandecoevering was arrested on a felony warrant in January 2015 after an investigation by the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office into inappropriate touching of several boys on numerous occasions between 2012 and 2013.
The victims told investigators that Vandecoevering, who was a family acquaintance, would give them massages and rub their inner thighs and genitals over the top of their clothing when he was alone with them, according to court documents. The victims said the man continued the behavior even after they asked him to stop.
Vandecovering had told the victim’s parents he was a former police officer as a way to gain their trust so he could be alone with the children, court documents said.
"Mr. Vandecoevering is a pedophile who used his position of trust with the family to manipulate and groom these young victims for his own sexual gratification,” said Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin. “He deserves to be in prison where he can no longer prey on innocent children.”