Note: The following story and attached documents contain information that describes alleged criminal sexual acts with a minor by a now-deceased alleged criminal, as well as language some readers may find objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.
According to a report sent to the Idaho Dispatch, the Idaho Attorney General’s office has declined to pursue charges against Owyhee County Sheriff Perry Grant.
In the detailed report, first covered by the Owyhee Avalanche, the AG’s office states there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. The AG’s office states that while they are declining to press charges, they do not condone Grant’s conduct.
The complaint was filed by Rachelle Fahey with the Owyhee County Human Resources Department and stems from child pornography evidence that was recovered in a case against Chancey Baker.
Baker was charged with numerous counts of lewd/lascivious conduct with a minor after an investigation that took place between 2018 or 2019, according to the AG’s report. According to the report, Baker later committed suicide while in the custody of another county.
The video allegedly contained Baker having multiple sexual contacts with a boy described as nine years old.
Grant and Detective Jeff Wasson were the lead investigators on the case.
The complaint against Grant was filed in November 2021. Two complaints are alleged against Grant.
First, an allegation is made that Grant showed the video to a deputy “unnecessarily,” joked about the video, and that Grant had played music from another device while the video was playing. Second, an allegation is made that Grant had a piece of paper that is alleged to be a screenshot from the video Baker made, containing explicit content.
On the first allegation against Baker, the AG’s report states that the deputy who was allegedly shown the video was part of the investigation in some limited capacity. The report states that because the video was allegedly shown during the sheriff’s “scope and course of his law enforcement duties,” Idaho Code 18-1507, which prohibits the sharing and possession of sexually exploitive material, does not apply.
One of the witnesses interviewed during the AG’s investigation was a former sheriff deputy, Steven Crawford. Crawford alleges in the report that he heard Grant and Wassan laughing and giggling while viewing the video but that he never saw the video itself.
Another witness, James Vincent, stated that the sheriff would play a song that was either part of the video itself, or was allegedly played on another device by Grant while the explicit video was playing. Vincent is quoted in the report as stating,
The Sheriff, it was kinda a running joke with the song, and he did play the song, you know what I am saying…but I don’t remember it being played to a video.
Vincent told the AG investigator, Nicholas Edwards, that he did walk into Grant’s office where Grant and Wasson were reviewing the video. Vincent said he did catch a glimpse of the video and said he believed Grant and Wasson were joking around with him.
Kenny Hoagland was an additional witness in the AG’s investigation. Hoagland alleges that Grant was standing by his office door and directed him to come into the office.
The report states that Hoagland walked into the office where music was being played over the explicit video. Hoagland is quoted in the report as saying, “What the crap is that” before “quickly” leaving Grant’s office.
The AG’s report states that Hoagland could not confirm whether the sheriff added the music or not but stated that the sheriff did turn up the music. Hoagland also said the sheriff told him, “Well that song really fits it good,” in reference to the music playing during an explicit scene.
Regarding the second allegation, that Grant had a piece of paper containing explicit material, Crawford told the AG’s office that Grant and Wasson were printing pictures of the sexual assault, placing them facedown in front of people, and telling them to turn it over.
Hoagland told the AG investigator that he didn’t turn over the pictures because he had heard rumors of what Grant and Wasson were doing.
The AG’s report concludes on the second allegation that,
Without proof that the paper actually contained an image of sexually exploitative material, our office would not be able to show that Sheriff Gran committed a crime.
Grant and Wasson were also interviewed during the AG’s investigation.
Grant told the AG’s office that there were several videos containing explicit material that Baker had and that some “still images” were likely screenshots from those videos. Grant told Edwards that attorneys for the prosecutor’s office and the defense did not want to view the video, and most only wanted to read his reports.
According to the AG’s report, Grant told Edwards that no other investigator volunteered to do the reports, so he chose to do it himself. Additionally, Grant said he did not want anyone else to experience detailing what was on the video for the reports. The prosecutor wanted detailed information from the videos, so Grant said he would watch five seconds at a time and then write a paragraph about what was happening.
Grant told Edwards that he and Wasson talked a lot about the video and, according to the report, said they were
…mainly decompressing about how fucking horrible it was.
During the case, Grant “drank a lot” and was going through a divorce.
Grant told Edwards there wasn’t anything funny about the case but admitted that there may have been inappropriate joking with Wasson about the material.
Grant denied that he added any music to the video. He also denied having viewed the video outside the scope of his employment.
In regard to the images, Grant told Edwards he did not remember distributing any still images but is quoted as saying,
If I did, no excuse, I was probably drunk as shit, and really screwed up in my head and I deserve something for that if I did…
According to the report, Wasson told Edwards that he was unaware of any instance of the Grant bringing in deputies to show them the video or laughing about the video. Wasson said that the music was part of the video itself.
Wasson also denied knowing if the sheriff had printed any screenshots from the video and tried to show them to deputies.
The investigator for the AG, Edwards, noted several times that Grant was visibly emotional and took “lengthy pauses” when discussing the case.
The AG’s office says in their conclusion that they recommend remedial training for the sheriff and the prosecutor on how to handle cases with sexually exploitative material. The report states in part,
Sheriff Grant indicated to our investigator that the joking may have been a coping mechanism to deal with the emotional toll of the investigation. Consistent with our authority under Idaho Code 31-2002, we will suggest to the Owyhee County Prosecuting Attorney that Sheriff Grant receive training on how to handle sexually exploitative material as part of an official investigation and training on how to appropriately cope with the effects of having to view such material.
Fahey told the AG’s office that she filed the complaint after doing “exit interviews” on what the report describes as a “mass exodus” of people from the sheriff’s office. Fayhe said that during the exit interviews of approximately eight to twelve individuals, none of them cited higher pay as a reason for leaving.
According to the AG report, Fayhe told Edwards that people suggested they were leaving due to leadership issues at the sheriff’s office during the interviews.
Idaho Dispatch reached out to Grant and Fayhe for comment on the AG’s report. Grant has not yet responded to our request.
Fayhe told Idaho Dispatch she did not have any further comment.
Note: The following images and attached PDF contain all but four pages of the AG’s report sent to the Idaho Dispatch. The four pages we have chosen to remove from the report are an attached document that contained the sheriff’s timestamped details of what was happening in the video, which described specific sexual acts performed on and by the nine-year-old boy. Idaho Dispatch felt that adding those four pages was unnecessary to the story and was too graphic to share. For those who are seeking the entire report, including those four pages, you can submit a public records request to the Idaho Attorney General’s office.
Tags: Chancey Baker, Idaho Attorney General, James Vincent, Jeff Wasson, Kenny Hoagland, Owyhee County, Owyhee County Sheriffs Office, Perry Grant, Rachelle Fahey, Steven Crawford