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12:57 AM Sun, Feb. 17th

Teen spared jail, but immediately gets in more trouble

KINGMAN - An 18-year-old Colorado City man who escaped incarceration for inappropriate contact with a 4-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to 10 months in prison for immediately violating his probation after returning home.

Prosecutors said Brandon L. Cooke had contact with the victim, did not abide by curfew, did not register with the Probation Office and admitted to smoking marijuana almost as soon as he was placed on probation June 15.

Cooke was given three years probation after pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a sexual motivation. He was caught in 2011 with the girl in her bedroom with her tights around her ankles.

Court files indicate that Cooke admitted to touching the girl's buttocks and said he became curious after hearing others talk about female body parts.

Cooke was not required to register as a sex offender by the original plea agreement. Mohave Superior Court Judge Steven Conn, who imposed the 10-month sentence Thursday, elected not to impose the registration despite Cooke's probation violation because the charge that Cooke originally pleaded to was not considered a dangerous crime against children.

Conn appeared to accept the defense's position that Cooke's limited sexual education motivated him to commit the act.

Cooke is a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has about 10,000 members living in Colorado City and neighboring Hildale. Several members of his family were present.

"I see very little about this case to suggest that the defendant is some sort of predator," Conn said.

He said Cooke would likely be back in court if he didn't modify his behavior.