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Trial ordered in lewd conduct case

by KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor | February 16, 2021 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — A Sagle man was ordered to stand trial for sexually abusing a minor in 2013.

Christopher John Lawson is scheduled to be arraigned in 1st District Court on March 15. He is free on bail while the case is pending.

The alleged victim testified over videoconferencing that Lawson touched her genitals twice while they were playing tag in a hot tub.

"I instantly didn't want anybody to know," the alleged victim said during Lawson's preliminary hearing. "I kind of just buried it...and buried it."

Lawson, 51, invoked his right to remain silent during the hearing and did not testify.

"I find the testimony credible," Judge Justin Julian said of the alleged victim’s statements under oath.

Lawson was originally charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct. His defense counsel, Coeur d'Alene attorney Michael G. Palmer, argued against binding Lawson over on both counts.

"If this occurred, it was all a single continuous action," Palmer said.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Nick Lepire contended that the alleged victim's testimony made it clear Lawson touched the alleged victim's genitals in two different ways.

"From the state's perspective, there were two distinct touchings," Lepire said.

Julian, however, was not persuaded by the state's contention.

"The action was essentially continuous," said Julian, who bound Lawson over to stand trial on a single count.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.