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Life sentence in teen rape case upheld

SANDPOINT – The Idaho Court of Appeals has upheld the life sentence of a North Idaho man for drugging and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

The court on Nov. 8 affirmed the conviction and sentence of 41-year-old Dean Duane Stevens Jr., ruling that 1st District Judge Steve Verby did not abuse his discretion by imposing the sentence, according to a story published Saturday in the Bonner County Daily Bee.

“There was a great deal of work that went into this investigation and prosecution,” Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said. “I am sorry the victim endured this horrific assault, but I am proud of her for coming forward so no other girl has to meet the same fate by the hand of Stevens.”

Authorities said Stevens supplied the teen with methamphetamine before raping her in 2009 in a remote cabin north of Ponderay. Police say Stevens took the girl to the cabin after she agreed to pose for nude photographs in exchange for money.

Stevens entered an Alford plea, meaning he didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to obtain a guilty verdict. Alford pleas are treated as guilty pleas at sentencing.

“I did not rape her,” Stevens said at his sentencing hearing last year. “There was nothing forcible about anything.”

Verby imposed a fixed life sentence on Stevens for the rape, and a 25-year sentence for delivery of a controlled substance.

The Idaho Department of Correction said Stevens is serving his sentence at the Idaho Correctional Center in Kuna.