Convicted child molester gets probation after serving less than a year

Convicted child molester gets probation after serving less than a year

A Post Falls man convicted of molesting an eight-year-old boy last year will walk free after serving less than a year.

Zachary Hubbard was found guilty of molesting the child in 2017, when Hubbard was 30-years-old and was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. Before being sentenced, Judge John Mitchell gave Hubbard the chance to complete what’s called a “rider” program in Idaho.

As part of the program, Hubbard went through ten months of sex offender treatment with the Idaho Department of Corrections. On Aug. 7, Judge Mitchell reviewed Hubbard’s progress to determine if the treatment was enough to skip years in prison and just serve probation instead. At the end of the hearing, Judge Mitchell said he needed more information before making that decision.

Tuesday, Hubbard faced Judge Mitchell once again — this time, with a risk assessment and a polygraph. The defense said the risk assessment found Hubbard was a low to moderate risk to re-offend.

“He was somebody who needed protecting as well,” said Hubbard’s attorney. “It would be simple to just throw Zach away. It would be easy to do that.”

The state said the polygraph found Hubbard admitted to having sexual attraction to children and watching child pornography.

“Those images aren’t the type of thing that a normal person can stomach and yet that’s what Mr. Hubbard seeks out,” said Kootenai County Prosecutor Becky Perez, who recommended prison time.

Perez said while the polygraph stated Hubbard had no other victims, one victim was too many.

“Mr. Hubbard chose to do this — ruin this boy,” Perez said. “The stakes are simply too high here, the danger too great, and the damage too significant to put him on probation.”

The defense said Hubbard struggled with his sexual orientation and was gay — the state said that had nothing to do with the case.

“The state isn’t concerned whether he’s attracted to male or female — what we’re concerned with is that he’s attracted to children,” Perez said.

The defense fought for probation and said agents at the Idaho Department of Corrections agreed Hubbard should walk free.

“They’re all telling the court the same thing, which is the strides that Zach has made,” said Hubbard’s attorney.

Hubbard himself addressed Judge Mitchell and asked for a second chance.

“I have tried to live my life my way — tried to hide in shame, hide in fear, and I failed. I failed a young boy that did trust me,” Hubbard said. “I’m telling you right now your honor, if you give me that chance I won’t fail again.”

Hubbard said he molested the eight-year-old because he, too, was abused as a child.

“I know what I did was the most despicable thing that someone can do,” Hubbard said. “I failed him by not only allowing the same thing that I went through as a kid but I caused it.”

Hubbard claimed he was a changed man because of the “rider” program with sex offender treatment.

“I let people into my deepest, darkest, shame-filled secrets because I knew that I had to,” Hubbard said. “I hate what I did. But for the first time in my life, I can look at myself and feel love, instead of hate and shame.”

After hearing arguments from the state, defense, and Hubbard, Judge Mitchell put Hubbard on supervised probation for ten years, after he served 353 days. Judge Mitchell said Hubbard’s past played a role in his decision for the convicted child molester’s future.

“I think when you committed the crime you were a very, horribly confused person,” Judge Mitchell said. “Similar things happened to you when you were growing up, which I think played a part in your skewed decision-making process.”

Judge Mitchell said Hubbard seemed to care about what happened to his victim, which also factored into his decision. The judge said Hubbard was “hopelessly misguided” when he molested the child.

As part of his probation, Hubbard will have to register as a sex offender. Judge Mitchell ordered him to serve 300 hours of community service by Sept. 1, 2020, work towards full-time employment or education, comply with his probation officer and attend rehab programs as determined by his probation officer.

Hubbard will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing for the first year of his probation. He must stay in Idaho and anyone he lives with may not possess any alcohol. Judge Mitchell said drugs and alcohol would change Hubbard’s risk to re-offend.

Hubbard must attend a parenting skills class by Nov. 1. He’s ordered to attend sex offender therapy as determined by his probation officer. Hubbard may not have any contact with minors unless supervised by his probation officer or a therapist.

Hubbard could be subject to 90 days in jail if his probation officer feels there’s a “behavior that needs to be corrected.”

Judge Mitchell said if Hubbard violates his probation, he will serve the full fixed sentence.