ST. GEORGE – A Washington County 5th District Judge sentenced a 44-year-old LaVerkin man to 240 days in jail and a lifetime as a sex offender registrant after he pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge for sex abuse of a child.
Monday’s sentencing by Judge Eric Ludlow followed Jason Paul Beckstrand’s admission to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl which, he told the court, only happened because of a serious alcohol problem he had during the time.
Beckstrand’s conviction was based on an incident in 2014 during a sleepover with the victim and his daughter.
Under the terms of his sentence, the defendant is not eligible for “good time” or any form of early release, Deputy Washington County Attorney Zachary Weiland said.
“That means it’s a straight 240 days – he’s not going to get off early,” he said. “He will do a full 240 days.”
While Beckstrand was only convicted of one charge of sex abuse there were allegations of multiple victims. At one point during the investigation, the LaVerkin Police Department appealed to the media to run stories asking other victims to come forward.
In court Monday, the judge added 30 days to the eight-month sentence in part, Weiland said he believes, because of emotional testimony given by a couple of those alleged victims.
“I believe based on the additional statements by these young brave victims the judge deferred from the matrix and ordered an additional 30 days without any good time,” Weiland said. “The judge thanked the victims for their hard testimony.”
The defendant’s sentence was based on a matrix formulated by a presentence investigation that determines the time a defendant should spend in state custody.
In recent years, the Legislature has changed many of the guidelines for the matrix, decreasing the time defendants remain in state custody for felony charges, Weiland said. In this case, as is the same for most of them, the judge followed the matrix, increasing it by an additional 30 days.
“It was the victim’s parents that never wanted him to be around children again and based on the evidence presented to the county attorney’s office and after intensive review and follow-up,” he said. “The county attorney was able to get a conviction that allowed him to get lifetime sex offender registration. This means he can’t go to a school, can’t go to parks, and can never have sleepovers at his house ever again.
“This was a tough case but in the end he is serving, I don’t want to say significant time because it’s not, but he is serving time in jail and he’ll be a lifetime sex offender registrant which will prevent him from having access to young girls and ever doing this again.”
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