IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office has confirmed an Idaho Falls man has been sentenced to serve between five and 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a minor, saying he was following God's will.
On Monday, 7th District Judge Joel Tingey issued the sentence after finding 48-year-old Michael Mercado guilty of rape where the victim is 16 or 17 years old.
Police arrested Mercado earlier this year after his ex-wife discovered his relationship with a then 17-year-old teenage girl.
According to the victim's impact statement, Mercado first took an interest in the victim when she was 13 and eventually told her God wanted them to be married. She says she was too scared to say no to Mercado.
John Thomas, Mercado's attorney, countered his client needed treatment for sex addiction by pointing out that Mercado had four marriages fail because of cheating.