Sundance Man Faces Decades In Prison For Slamming Children Against Bath Tubs And Walls 

Joshua Idler faces up to 42 years in prison if convicted on all counts of child abuse and assault relating to allegations that he choked, hit, threw and kicked his children, and tried to push his pregnant wife out of a moving van.  

Clair McFarland

April 06, 20236 min read

Joshua Idler booking photo
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Accused of throwing, hitting and choking his children and assaulting his wife, a Sundance man is headed to trial this summer.   

Sundance man Joshua Idler, born 1987, faces up to 42 years in prison if convicted on all eight counts he faces in Crook County District Court.   

Judge James Michael Causey in a Tuesday order set Idlers jury trial for Aug. 7, after Idler pleaded not guilty late last month.   

The Crook County Sheriff's Office responded Dec. 8 to a report that Idler was abusing at least one of his six children, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.   

One of his daughters recounted in later interviews with authorities that she did something wrong that day, and Idler started yelling, the affidavit said. When she tried to correct her mistake, she said, she actually made it worse, and Idler punched her, then choked her, the affidavit alleged.  

The affidavit said that Idler threw the girl against the wall that day and it caused an indentation in her foot. She said she had to muscle through the foot pain when playing school sports after that, according to the affidavit.   

The girl said Idler also abused her mom "a lot," the affidavit said.    

The document quotes the girl saying her younger sister, who is now a pre-teen, would stay downstairs to avoid the abusive environment because she had bad depression from it.  

Idler's abuse was the worst, the affidavit alleged, when the girl would say the wrong things. And when her father punched, smacked or threw her, she sometimes felt like she was going to throw up or couldn't breathe, said the document. It alleged that Idler would sometimes choke the girl by holding her up by her neck; other times hed choke her without holding her up and would cut off her breathing.  

She and her sisters would scramble for lies to tell their friends to explain their bruises, said the girl, but it was easier for their brothers to make up such lies because people believed them more when the boys said they'd been rough housing, the affidavit said.  

In the affidavit's account, the girl told her interviewer that she wouldn't remember everything because she and her mother had theorized that she'd been thrown into the wall too much.   

'Sometimes He Kicks Us'  

Another of Idler's daughters told authorities that he slapped the children and jerked them around, and that he pulled the girls' hair.   

"Sometimes he kicks us," said the girl in the affidavit.   

She recalled one incident, the affidavit alleged, in which she was helping her sisters take a bath but she did something wrong. She couldn't remember what when interviewed, just that she'd done wrong, said the document.   

Her dad started slapping her, the affidavit said, and he pushed her into the bathtub, grabbed her hair and started banging her head against the wall.   

He continued slapping her, pulling her hair, calling her rude names and curse words, as the smaller girls in the tub and in the hallway watched, the affidavit said.   

Both girls said their dad would "brain wash" or threaten them in order to stop them from telling other people about what they'd endured, according to the document.   

'Dad Was Being Mean'  

In an interview with a young boy, the affidavit said the boy told authorities that when he does not listen, his dad smacks him "everywhere" and hits him and his siblings in the head a lot.   

Once, the affidavit alleged, Idler kicked the boy down the stairs and as he tumbled, he felt his neck pop.   

Idler also would throw the children to a concrete floor, the boy said in the document.   

Snow Shovel  

A younger boy told authorities, the affidavit alleged, that while shoveling snow with Idler, the boy was "not thinking right" and so Idler hit him with a snow shovel and threw him on the concrete.   

The boy felt like he needed to puke, the document said and added that Idler "kept doing it." 

He and his brother kept trying to do the job right and when they couldn't, the affidavit recounted from the boys interview, Idler would throw the shovel like a spear and hit one of the boys; he also banged a boys head against the truck.   

Idler would apologize after the beatings, the boy recalled in the affidavit, and the children told him that he was scaring them.   

Pregnant In A Moving Van  

Multiple children told authorities about an alleged incident on Nov. 9, in which they said they'd seen Idler try to push their pregnant mother out of a moving van.   

One child said that Idler was "mad" that day and had all the kids in the van, "including the baby," the affidavit said.   

The document alleged that Idler told his wife that she was crazy and unstable, and he made remarks about taking the kids. His wife tried to stop him from taking the kids by talking to him but he pushed the kids out of the house, into the van, the affidavit said.   

So the mother ran upstairs to turn off the stove and grab her jacket so she would not get left behind. As Idler was driving away, his wife jumped into the moving van, the affidavit said.   

During the ride her pregnancy caused her discomfort, the document said and added that Idler soon began hitting her.  

She thought about jumping out of the van on her own but didn't because she was afraid for her unborn baby, the woman recalled in the affidavit. Then Idler tried pushing her out, repeatedly, as she screamed in pain, the document alleged.   

Eventually he stopped and apologized to her, the document added, and they had an argument about whether she would leave him.   

Slew Of Charges  

Idler has two previous convictions for child abuse, from 2021, and two previous convictions for domestic battery from that year, the affidavit said.   

A judge sent his case to the felony-level Crook County District Court last month and Idler pleaded not guilty on March 23.   

He faces eight criminal charges:  

  • Two counts of child abuse, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines,  
  • Two counts of battery, both misdemeanors punishable by up to six months and jail and $750 in fines each,  
  • Two counts of unlawful contact, both misdemeanors punishable each by up to six months in jail and $750 in fines,  
  • Two counts of aggravated assault, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.   
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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter