An Idaho sheriff who resigned after his rude confrontation with teenage girls from a religious group has reached a plea deal under which he will spend 10 days in jail, his attorney has said.
Craig Rowland, 63, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault and displaying a firearm. He pleaded guilty to the assault charge on Monday and is expected to be sentenced in October to 10 days in jail plus probation, defense attorney Dennis Wilkinson says EastIdahoNews.com. The other charges will be dropped.
Rowland, then Bingham County Sheriff, was at home on the evening of November 9 when a wagonload of seven girls aged 12 to 16 and their church chaperone arrived to deliver a ‘grateful turkey’ – a note from appreciation for his wife. work in their church.
After the girls left the paper turkey taped to the Rowlands’ door, the sheriff – apparently armed, barefoot and wearing long underwear – chased their car and unloaded a lewd rant.
In a statement to police, cited in court documents, he described his actions: “I reach out and pull the driver by the hair. I say, ‘Who the hell are you?’ “
He said he pointed his gun at the girls in the car and then at the woman’s head.
Several of the girls told investigators that Rowland repeatedly said, “I’m going to shoot you.”
In his statement to the city’s police chief, Rowland appeared to attempt to justify his actions by saying he had previously been harassed at his home by residents of the nearby Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock reservation. He disparaged the residents of the reservation, calling them “not good people”.
After months of resisting calls to resign, Rowland resigned from his post in July. He had been sheriff, an elected position, since 2012 and had two years left in his term.
His jury trial on the charges – two felonies and a misdemeanor – was scheduled to begin Oct. 24; the plea deal overturned that. He is expected to be sentenced on October 25.
If convicted on all counts at trial, Rowland faced up to 20 years in prison.