COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The case of a former legislative candidate accused of fondling a child has been referred to First District Court for further action, as reported by KREM 2 News partner the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press.
Sean A. Barron, 52, of Post Falls — publicly known as Alex Barron — is charged with sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16 and with domestic battery, both felonies.
In addition to sexual abuse, Barron was initially charged with rape. The rape charge was amended to domestic battery last week.
Barron ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for the District 3 seat in the Idaho Senate.
He served as secretary for the Kootenai County Republic Central Committee from 2016 to 2020.
After a preliminary hearing last week, First District Judge Mayli Walsh ruled that enough evidence exists to bind the case over to district court.
Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies responded Sept. 30 to a report that Barron had inappropriately touched a 12-year-old child.
The child testified in court last week that Barron cupped her buttocks multiple times.
She said Barron’s touch made her uncomfortable, but she wasn’t able to extricate herself from his “hug.” He appeared to be drunk, she said.
“After he let go, he fell to the floor, and I started crying,” she said.
She told the court that Barron later apologized to her for touching her that way.
“He told me it might have been something in his drink,” she said.
A woman testified about an incident she said occurred the same night Barron allegedly fondled the child.
She said Barron groped her and attempted to initiate sexual intercourse with her multiple times. He allegedly bit her hard enough to bruise.
She said she told Barron to stop during two separate attempts and he temporarily complied. The third time, she said he forced her to have sex.
“He was really drunk and I was afraid to say no,” she said.
Documents filed by the state include photos of bruises and bite marks on the woman’s body.
The woman said she later confronted Barron. He allegedly denied knowledge of any events that occurred on the night in question.
When contacted by police on Oct. 1, Barron reportedly said he believed he had been drugged at a Post Falls bar on the night of the alleged incidents and did not remember anything.
He later said he had “hazy” memories of placing his hands on the 12-year-old child’s buttocks, according to court documents.
He told police he had apologized to the child and sought counseling.
Barron acknowledged that the woman confronted him about the alleged forced sex, police said. He reportedly characterized the event as consensual.
Police arrested Barron. He later posted $35,000 bail.
A judge issued a bench warrant for Barron’s arrest on Oct. 12, after he failed to appear in court for a hearing.
The warrant was quashed the next day; Barron reportedly did not receive notice of the hearing.
Barron’s attorney filed a motion in December to sever the sexual abuse charge from the original rape charge, on the grounds that the charges have “different factual allegations” and involve two different accusers.
Judge Walsh denied the motion last week.
In a separate matter, Barron was cited for misdemeanor domestic battery in 2018. Prosecutors later dismissed the charge.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse, call Safe Passage Violence Prevention Center’s 24-hour hotline: 208-664-9303.
The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our news partner, click here.