William “Mike” Crothers will be sentenced next week despite the Teton County Courthouse being closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
After consulting with attorneys during a video conference hearing Thursday morning in Teton County Circuit Court, Judge James Radda decided to keep the April 10 court date. The court will host a virtual sentencing.
The courts are conducting as much business as possible online and over the phone during the pandemic. Exact details on how many members of the public can attend the online hearing are still being determined.
Radda issued an order last week that protects the public’s right to access open proceedings.
“We will accommodate as many people as we can,” Radda said. “I am not sure what the capacity is.”
Crothers was convicted on two counts of unlawful contact in early March. The jury acquitted him on one count of sexual battery.
The trial stemmed from a teen house party where girls said Crothers inappropriately touched them after a night of drinking.
The jury trial drew almost 80 people who packed the circuit courtroom to watch testimony.
Defense attorney Tom Fleener said his client is in Texas while he awaits sentencing. Teton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan argued that Crothers should return to Teton County for his sentencing.
“Frankly I’ve got an active bench warrant for a DUI hit and run in Idaho on Mr. Crothers that he has avoided from 2014,” Allan said. “I think he will try to pull the same thing with this court. I think it is important the defendant be here so he can commence to serve whatever sentence the court decides.”
Fleener filed a motion for judgment of acquittal in the case, but Radda denied it. Each of the three misdemeanors Crothers was found guilty of — two counts of unlawful touching and one of permitting an underage house party — carries a six-month maximum sentence.
The sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 10. Requests to attend can be made through the circuit court clerk’s office.