A Casper man was handed a four- to seven-year prison sentence in a sexual assault case Thursday afternoon.

Jacob Paquette took a plea deal in October. He was initially charged with multiple counts of first-degree sexual assault, aggravated assault and battery, felonious restraint and sexual exploitation of children.

Instead, as part of the October agreement, Paquette entered an Alford plea to third-degree sexual assault and strangulation of a household member.

An Alford plea is a type of plea in which the accused does not specifically admit guilt. Instead, the defendant concedes that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction should the case go to trial. For sentencing purposes, an Alford plea is effectively a guilty plea.

Calling the allegations "he said, she said," Paquette's attorney, Hampton Young said had the case gone to trial, there is a good chance Paquette would have been acquitted.

Young added Paquette is a "teddy bear" who "goes with the flow."

Young asked that Paquette attend boot camp, but Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey ruled that boot camp was not appropriate given the nature of the charges.

Forgey sentenced Paquette to 12 to 24 months in prison on the strangulation charge and four to seven years on the sexual assault charge. Those sentences will be served out at the same time.

In May, Paquette allegedly grabbed the alleged victim and forced her onto a bed. According to an affidavit of probable cause, the alleged victim screamed but Paquette repeatedly covered her mouth and nose to silence her. Eventually, Paquette forced the victim to have sex with him.

According to the affidavit, the alleged victim eventually went into a bathroom and locked the door, preventing Paquette from getting to her.. When she came out of the bathroom, Paquette held the alleged victim down and forced her to have sex with him.

Despite screaming and doing everything she could to fight back, Paquette allegedly restrained her and raped her twice more. At one point, Paquette "poked" the alleged victim's back with a knife, charging documents say.

After speaking with police, the alleged victim was taken to Wyoming Medical Center, where a sexual assault examination was completed. According to the affidavit, while at the hospital, medical staff and investigators noted the alleged victim had at least 30 bruises covering her body.

About an hour after the alleged victim called police, Paquette contacted law enforcement and asked if any reports had been made regarding him. A dispatcher told Paquette that information couldn't be released, the affidavit says.

Paquette then said he'd like to report that the alleged victim had badly beaten him up and that he was going to the Casper police station.

During the investigation, detectives located a sexual assault report from September 2018 involving Paquette. In that report, a different victim told police that Paquette forced her into a bedroom, and blocked the door with a dresser. The alleged victim screamed but Paquette placed his hands over her mouth and sexually assaulted her, court documents say.

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