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Jacksonville teen sentenced in sex abuse case

A Jacksonville teen who was charged as an adult in a rape case pleaded guilty to lesser charges Tuesday, with the expectation that he'll be able to serve his sentence in a facility for youths.

Jeremiah Freemyers, who turned 18 on Nov. 26, was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree assault and second-degree sexual abuse in a May 28 incident involving a girl who was 15 years old at the time.

Freemyers was sentenced to five years and 10 months with the expectation that he'll serve his time in the custody of Oregon Youth Authority facility instead of in prison.

Freemyers' mother addressed Jackson County Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe prior to sentencing, describing her son as "a very good boy." His mother said the girl had sought Freemyers out on Facebook prior to their meeting. 

"I think five years is too much," she told the court. "This is a case of two inexperienced kids playing adult games."

Hoppe explained that the court is bound to state sentencing guidelines and state law requires that minors ages 15-17 who commit Measure 11 crimes such as second-degree assault must be tried as adults.

Freemyers was initially charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and coercion before pleading down to assault and sex abuse charges.

Court appointed defense attorney Alyssa Bartholomew also described Freemyers as a "good kid."

She claimed Freemyers' sexual inexperience resulted in the victim's injuries.

"The resolution is what it is, despite interpretations to what happened," Hoppe said.

The sentence only specifies 70 months with the Oregon Department of Corrections, but because the plea agreement stipulated that the Oregon Youth Authority would handle punishment, Freemyers would be resentenced if he serves at the Oregon State Penitentiary instead. Freemyers will also pay restitution in the amount of $4,237 and will register as a sex offender with regular HIV and DNA testing as part of his post-prison supervision.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.