Try 3 months for $3

A Portage man was is sentenced to nine months in jail and five years of probation, convicted of sexual assault of a 15-year-old and returning to the same girl while released on bond.

Jordan Newsome, 31, was facing a possible 10-year sentence for sexual assault and a six-year sentence for felony bail jumping when he appeared in the Columbia County Circuit Court for his sentencing hearing.

Newsome first appeared in court on May 26, after a Portage police detective approached him and asked about an accusation that he had sex with a 15-year-old at his apartment around May 22 between the end of school and 6 p.m.

The detective reported that after confronting Newsome with details, he admitted that it had happened and that he knew how old she was, not that they were “just friends” as he originally told the detective.

In his bail hearing, Judge W. Andrew Voigt set bond at $750 cash with release conditioned on Newsome not contact the girl in question or any other underage girl. On June 5 Newsome posted bond and was released.

On July 2 Newsome appeared in court again, standing mute and entering a not-guilty plea. Meanwhile, according to court documents, Newsome had been seeing the same 15-year-old on nearly a daily basis for a month beginning about two weeks after his release on bond.

A month later, police acted on a warrant, searching Newsome’s home. There they found minor drug paraphernalia and spoke with a roommate who told officers that he had seen a girl staying with Newsome even though he knew Newsome had been arrested earlier.

Newsome was taken into custody and the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to forfeit the $750 bond.

At his sentencing hearing, attorneys entered the court with a joint recommendation to present to Voigt, requesting a withheld sentence, with five years of probation, nine months in the County Jail and sex offender registration. Newsome would be pleading to the charge of sexual assault while the subsequent charges would be dismissed, but read into the record.

In closing statements, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Yaskal told the court that considering Newsome’s record, there were concerns going into the recommendation.

“This does give the state some pause about the repetitive nature of these charges,” said Yaskal.

In 2006, Newsome plead no contest in Juneau County to charges of contributing to the delinquency of a child, fourth-degree sexual assault, and endangering safety with use of a dangerous weapon. As in the current case, at his June 2006 sentencing hearing, there was an incorporation of a new felony bail jumping charge that was picked up during his release. He was then sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation.

Discussing the mitigating circumstances of his current case, Yaskal said, “Consensual is not the right word here because of her age, but there was no force.”

Defense attorney Mark Lawton, recognizing that it was not the issue at hand in the case, highlighted that the girl involved did not want to press charges.

“These are the kinds of situations that are very challenging, because they are what the rest of the world would consider problematic, and that it did not seem so obvious to you,” said Voigt.

He explained to Newsome that because of the girl’s age, most of the other details of the situation become irrelevant: “She is not legally capable of entering into a relationship like that.”

In the event of there being any impression of Newsome avoiding consequences, Voigt explained that, “My understanding of what probation means for a sex offender is that the probation you are about to begin is about the closest supervision that the Department of Corrections does.”

Voigt ordered Newsome to be at the Columbia County Jail by 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 to begin his sentence with Huber work privileges, which will segue into five years of probation and life on the national sex offender registry.