Lewiston man pleads guilty to sexually abusing woman and young girl

LOGAN — A 20-year-old Lewiston man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two different victims, years apart.

Christopher R. VanDam appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, several weeks after being found competent again to stand trial. He accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped the remaining three charges against him.

State attorney Jacob Gordon said the plea deal involved two separate incidents. In 2013, VanDam molested a young girl who was under 13-years-old at the time of the assault.

Three years later he was camping with friends. In the middle of the night, he sneaked into the tent of a woman and began groping her until she woke up. He was arrested by Cache County Sheriff’s deputies shortly after the second assault.

In March, a judge ordered a competency evaluation for VanDam, to determine whether he understood the court proceedings against him and could defend himself. Two independent therapists interviewed him at the Cache County Jail. Both found him incompetent and needing treatment at the Utah State Hospital.

In August, VanDam was found to be competent again. He was transferred back to jail to face the charges against him.

During Tuesday’s court appearance, Judge Brian Cannell scheduled sentencing for November 20.

VanDam remains in jail, being held without bail. He could be sentenced to up to 15-years in prison.


will@cvradio.com

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