State Politics

Former Caldwell lawmaker is under investigation for sexual abuse

Former Idaho Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell.
Former Idaho Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell.

Former state Rep. Brandon Hixon is under investigation for sexual abuse, according to records provided by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

And it’s not the first time he’s been the focus of such an investigation, records newly obtained from the Caldwell Police Department show.

The existence of the new investigation, which started Oct. 5, was previously known. But no details had previously come out as to why Caldwell police were investigating Hixon, 36. An Oct. 25 agreement the Statesman obtained through a public records request mentions “sexual abuse allegations” but gives no other indication of the claims against Hixon.

Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor asked Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to take over the case because of a conflict of interest. Taylor knows Hixon personally from his dealings with the Republican Party and has worked with him on a number of issues, said Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker. Additionally, Taylor and Hixon live in the same district.

Hixon, a Republican, resigned from his District 10 House seat Oct. 19.

A Caldwell detective in December 2014 looked into a claim that Hixon inappropriately touched someone, possibly a child, according to a partially redacted report the department provided in response to a separate public records request. Charges were never brought because the victim involved was not able to provide enough details, the report indicates. It ends by noting the case could be reopened if the victim “was able to communicate to us later that something has happened.”

The report mentions Hixon saying such an allegation “could ruin his political career.”

It is unclear whether the new investigation has any relation to the previous one.

News of Hixon’s new investigation broke on Oct. 18. That day, Hixon told the Statesman that he had not been charged with anything and he had not resigned from the Idaho Legislature.

The next day, he resigned “effective immediately” through an email to Gov. Butch Otter and House Speaker Scott Bedke. The email did not state why Hixon resigned.

Hixon has referred all further queries about the investigation to his attorney, Gabriel McCarthy. Comment from McCarthy or Hixon was not immediately available Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, Bedke told the Associated Press that he was not aware of the 2014 investigation and declined further comment.

Hixon was in his third term, which would have ended on Nov. 30, 2018. The lawmaker served on the House Business, Health and Welfare, Transportation and Defense committees.

He is divorced, with several children.

Three nominees to replace him — Jarom Wagoner, Donald Easteppe and Jeff Taggart — have been forwarded to Otter for consideration.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell