A 21-year-old Laramie man was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor this week after taking an Alford plea, a legal term meaning the defendant retains his assertion of innocence while pleading guilty because he acknowledges a jury is likely to convict him.
Zachary Skagen was charged with the crime for inflicting penetrative sexual abuse on a 9-year-old girl during at least three separate incidences in July 2018.
Second-degree sexual abuse can carry a prison term of up to 20 years, but Skagen’s plea deal means prosecutors will limit their recommendation for a sentence to 13-15 years imprisonment.
Skagen was arrested in November 2018, but has since been released on a partial house arrest after a $25,000 cash bond was posted.
He is not allowed to leave the house without the supervision of the adult who’s supervising him.
Since his initial release, he’s been living on Garfield Street near the University of Wyoming’s campus, but he’s now set to move into a different house in West Laramie.
James Pracheil, an officer with the Laramie Police Department, conducted an interview with the victim in October 2018. Skagen corroborated the details of the sex abuse to Pracheil.
“I don’t know why I did it,” he reportedly told a family member.
The first incident of abuse took place in Las Vegas, while the rest occurred in Laramie, according to court documents.