Man admits sexual abuse of 4-year-old |

Man admits sexual abuse of 4-year-old

A 32-year-old Gardnerville man must serve at least 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday to the sexual abuse of a 4-year-old girl.

Jamie Pierre Voyer pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a child under age 14 that caused substantial mental harm, a class A felony.

Both sides are free to argue at Voyer’s sentencing Aug. 27, but life in prison is mandatory. He is eligible to seek parole after 15 years.

District Judge Michael Gibbons questioned Voyer to make sure he understood he was ineligible for probation, and that parole was not guaranteed.

Gibbons said historically, the state parole board doesn’t grant parole on the first application in a child sex case.

The victim is now 5, and the incident took place in March 2011.

Gibbons said Voyer received a substantial benefit by being charged under child abuse laws instead of sexual assault.

The life in prison component is the same, but Voyer wouldn’t be eligible for parole for 35 years under a sexual assault charge.

“His decision (to plead guilty) is based on the fact that if he went to trial, the state would present a statement he (Voyer) made acknowledging the facts of the case. He believes if a jury heard the case, he might be found guilty of a more serious crime,” said Tod Young, Voyer’s attorney.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory verified the “substantial mental harm” component of the case, saying the child had been acting out with other children, and had other problems since the incident.

She reported the abuse to her grandmother and mother who contacted authorities.

Gregory said Voyer provided a statement to law enforcement which mirrored the child’s account of what happened.

At the arraignment Monday, Voyer stopped short of admitting the offense, but told Gibbons he acknowledged the allegations in the criminal complaint.

Gregory said the victim’s mother was capable of standing up for the child at the sentencing, and had been very involved in Voyer’s prosecution.

Young said his client is a citizen of Canada, and a legal resident of the United States. Young said he didn’t know whether Voyer would be deported after he serves his prison sentence.

He is being held in Douglas County Jail on $250,000 bail.