Jun 11, 2015

Sexual contact with teen sends Cody woman to prison

A Cody woman is headed to prison for having a sexual relationship with a teen half her age.

At a hearing last week, District Court Judge Steven Cranfill ordered Jessica Lee Ayers to serve 18-24 months behind bars for second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Jessica Ayers, in 2014
Ayers had the contact with the 15-year-old boy in late 2012 and early 2013, when she was 30 years old and known as Jessica Brainerd. Charging documents say Ayers met the teen through her children, who were friends with him.

Ayers pleaded guilty to the felony abuse charge last year.

Judge Cranfill’s sentence came in between the two to four years recommended by county prosecutors and the five years of house arrest/probation requested by Ayers and her public defender.

The illegal sexual contact came to light and was reported to police in late February 2013. That was when one of the teen’s family members saw a photo with him half-naked and cuddling with Ayers on a bed, charging documents say.

In a later interview with Cody Police Detective Ron Parduba, Ayers said she initiated the sexual relationship with the teen in December 2012 and that it had continued through February 2013.

“She knew he was under 18, but didn’t think he was as (young) as he is,” Parduba wrote in an affidavit filed in support of the charge, adding, “She stated she knew it was wrong.”

Parduba arrested Ayers at the end of the March 2013 interview.

She spent roughly a week in jail before being released to house arrest in Powell. She spent another 11 days in jail in August 2014 after admitting to “smoking a little meth” and testing positive for amphetamines back in Cody, court records say.

Ayers was taken back to the Park County Detention Center at the end of last week’s (June 2’s) sentencing hearing to await transport to prison.

The case had been delayed for various reasons over the past two years, including initial concern from Ayers’ defense attorney that she was mentally ill. She was ultimately found to be fit to proceed, said Deputy Park Couty Prosecuting Attorney Sam Krone.

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