Wyoming Sex Abuser Quits Trial During Victim’s Testimony, Takes Plea

A Wyoming man who sexually abused a 10-year-old girl abruptly ended his trial this week during the victim’s testimony, gave a “no contest” plea and was sentenced that day.

Clair McFarland

March 07, 20243 min read

Fremont courthouse 3 7 24

A 72-year-old Albany County man interrupted his own trial Wednesday to accept a plea agreement and go to prison for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl.

Kevin Michael Aldrich made it through the jury selection, opening statements and a portion of testimony at his trial that started Monday in Fremont County District Court.

But after the first half of the testimony of his victim, who is now 12, Aldrich pivoted and signed a plea agreement Wednesday. He pleaded “no contest” to second-degree child sexual abuse and was sentenced to between seven and 15 years in prison on the spot.

Had Aldrich not settled, the victim would have endured the second half of her testimony — the defense attorney’s cross-examination.

Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun, who prosecuted the case along with deputy attorney Jane Juve, said he has not had a defendant interrupt a trial to give a plea in his 14 years of being a prosecutor. 

But the swift turnaround means less hardship for the young victim, LeBrun told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

He noted that convicts have fewer options to appeal portions of their case to a higher court when they plead versus when a jury convicts them.  

“In light of his age … the disposition was reasonable because it created finality and allows for moving on knowing that it’s complete,” said LeBrun.

Aldrich could be released from his sentence at age 79 at the minimum and at 87 at the maximum. He received 162 days’ credit for the portion of his one-year prosecution that he spent in jail.

Citing attorney-client confidentiality, Aldrich’s attorney Nate Jeppsen declined to comment.

Aldrich’s home is in Albany County, where he was a longtime gunsmith, but he also has ties to Fremont County where some of the abuse happened and where this case was prosecuted, court documents say.

Tell Your Parents

Aldrich was charged Feb. 28, 2023, after the female victim’s parents reached out to Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy Sara Lowe to report child sexual abuse.

Aldrich had done sexual things to the girl repeatedly, with the most recent instance in June 2022, she later told a child forensic interviewer.

When the victim visited another female friend her age, she told her friend about the abuse, and the friend urged the victim to tell her parents, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.

Investigators also interviewed the friend, who said the victim confided in her that Aldrich did “bad things” to her.

A related Albany County case was dropped when Aldrich gave his plea, says his plea agreement.  

By Reason Of Mental Illness

Aldrich had originally pleaded both “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of mental illness” in November 2023.

In arguing that month for Aldrich to be given a lower bond and get out of jail, Jeppsen described the defendant as a decorated Vietnam veteran who had been married for about 50 years, had raised four children and had multiple grandchildren who would vouch for his character in a bond argument.

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter