A change of plea hearing was held Thursday in 4th Judicial District Court for a Sheridan man charged with sexual assault. Sheridan Media’s Ron Richter has the details.
Pursuant to terms of a plea agreement recently reached with the state, 25-year-old Bennett Walseth pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual assault in the first degree at a hearing in District Court Thursday. A three-day jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday May 16. The plea agreement recommends a sentence of 5 to 10 years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. The plea deal does not bind the court, which means the plea agreement can be rejected at sentencing and Walseth would be unable to withdraw his guilty plea and could receive the maximum sentence. District Court Judge Darci Phillips ordered that a presentence investigation be completed by probation and parole and set the sentencing for July 12 at 9:30 am.
According to court documents, Walseth inflicted sexual intrusion on a victim who was physically helpless and did not consent. The crime occurred during the summer of 2019 at a residence in Sheridan County. Sexual assault in the first degree is punishable by at least five years and no more than 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.