• Last modified 899 days ago (April 11, 2018)


Woman charged with five felonies strikes plea deal

Staff writer

A Marion woman alleged to have tried to prevent a witness or victim from reporting alleged indecent liberties with a child by her husband struck a plea-deal Monday that got four felony charges dismissed and one reduced to a lesser charge.

Sheila K. Thouvenell, 51, appeared in district court to plead guilty to a single charge of interference with law enforcement.

She was charged in February 2017 with three counts of aggravated witness intimidation and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Those charges stemmed from incidents allegedly occurring between June 30, 2014, and Aug. 8, 2016, involving three children.

Although Monday’s hearing was set for 9:30 a.m., Thouvenell and her attorney, Stephen Johnson of Newton, entered the courtroom at 10:25 a.m. Assistant attorney general Charles Klebe, with his briefcase in a courtroom chair, spent time during the delay reviewing a legal document, making notes, and pacing out to the hall. Johnson and Thouvenell were in a conference room.

When District Judge Michael Powers came into the courtroom, he said, “We were on the schedule for pretrial motions before the trial scheduled for next week. It’s my understanding it has reached a resolution.”

Powers asked Thouvenell if she had read the court document and discussed it with Johnson, and she said she had.

Powers explained that the charge claims she reported false information to an investigator. He said she could ultimately be sentenced between five months and 17 months in prison, depending on any criminal history, although she could be sentenced instead to probation.

Klebe said the charge was for telling a Marion police officer that someone else had been improperly touching a victim, but knew at the time it was her husband, Jerry Thouvenell, who had touched the child.

Jerry Thouvenell is charged with 12 counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14. The charges stem from incidents between Jan. 1, 2012, and Aug. 8, 2016. In each count, he is accused of engaging in lewd fondling or touching a child. He also is charged with battery of a child. His trial is scheduled for June.

Sheila Thouvenell’s sentencing is scheduled for June 4.

Last modified April 11, 2018