Natrona County Man Sentenced 30-35 Years For Child Sex Crimes
A Natrona County man will serve a 30- to 35-year sentence for sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography.
Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey handed down the sentence to Aaron Andrew Rushing during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Rushing, who was 38 when arrested, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography. He could have faced a 75- to 160-year prison term.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer agreed to drop the remaining six counts -- including charges of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor -- filed in a second amended information.
During the sentencing hearing, Schafer said the mandatory minimum term was 25 years for the sexual abuse of a minor. The mandatory minimum for possession of child pornography is five years.
He recommended prison terms of 30 to 35 years for the sexual abuse crimes and five to 12 years for the child pornography possession charges, all to be served concurrently or at the same time.
Schafer admired the courage of the victims who came forward, and Rushing, to his credit, gave a complete statement to investigators and showed he accepted responsibility, he said.
But the seriousness of the crimes warranted severe punishment, Schafer said. "You cannot condone this (behavior) in a community."
Public defender Rob Oldham said there's more to a person than the worst thing he has done. Remove the crimes and Rushing was a good man, Oldham said.
Rushing's crimes cannot be condoned, but Oldham hoped there could be some restorative justice for him and those he hurt, he said.
Oldham asked for a five- to 12-year sentence for the child pornography possession count, and 25-year suspended sentences for the three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Forgey agreed with Schafer's recommendations.
Court documents say a 15- or 16-year-old told Casper police in February he accidentally found child pornography on a flash drive belonging to Rushing.
The child pornography depicted the teenager's relative, who was 12 years old when she Rushing abused her.
In an interview at the Children's Advocacy Project, the victim detailed numerous sexual assaults that happened in a camper and in the basement of a home in Natrona County, according to an affidavit.
She said Rushing had "basically been raping [her] for a long time."
An investigator with the Natrona County Sheriff's Office interviewed Rushing that same day. Rushing allegedly spoke at length about having pornographic images of children on a USB drive.
Rushing also reportedly detailed sexual contact and sexual intrusion he had with the victim from February 2015 through December 2016, according to charging papers.