was an LDS church member, elders quorum president and high school basketball coach in Idaho; accused in 2019 of sexually abusing a student; pleaded guilty to a felony charge of child sexual abuse; sentenced in 2020 to 4 to 15 years in prison; as of December 2023, was out on parole living in Eagle, Idaho as a registered sex offender

Case Summary

Jeff Ranstrom was a Mormon church member and child sexual abuse perpetrator in Idaho.

He was married in a Mormon temple.

At the time of his arrest, Ranstrom was an LDS elders quorum president in the Star First Ward in the Star Idaho Stake, according to our sources.

case number in Idaho: CR01-19-41652

Ranstrom was initially charged with six offenses:

1 Rape I18-6101 Felony 03/26/2019
2 Children-Sexual Battery-Committed by Lewd or Lascivious Acts on a Minor Child 16 to 17 Years of Age I18-1508A(1)(a) Felony 03/26/2019
3 Children-Sexual Battery-Committed by Lewd or Lascivious Acts on a Minor Child 16 to 17 Years of Age I18-1508A(1)(a) Felony 03/26/2019
4 Children-Sexual Exploitation of a Child I18-1507 Felony 03/26/2019
5 Burglary I18-1401 Felony 03/26/2019
6 Burglary I18-1401 Felony 03/26/2019

In a plea agreement, Ranstrom was convicted of a single felony count of sexual battery on a child 16 to 17 years of age.

He was sentenced to 4 to 15 years in the Idaho state prison.

As of December 2023, Ranstrom was out on parole, living in Eagle, Idaho as a registered sex offender.

Sources
  1. 'He took so much from me': Former Eagle High teacher, coach gets prison for sex with student
    view source details | 28 Jan 2020 | KUTV
  2. case number: CR01-19-41652
    view source details | |
  3. Former Eagle High teacher, coach receives 15 years in prison, 4 fixed, for sexual battery on student
    view source details | 28 Jan 2020 | Idaho Press
  4. IDAHO SOR - offender profile
    view source details | 11 Dec 2023 | Idaho State Police
Sources excerpts
  • 'He took so much from me': Former Eagle High teacher, coach gets prison for sex with student
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: KUTV
    Date published/accessed: 28 Jan 2020
    archive 1 | archive 2

    BOISE, Idaho — The teenage girl said she thought she had found a father figure and someone in whom to confide in Jeff Ranstrom. But Ranstrom, a former teacher and basketball coach at Eagle High School, had other plans.

    During Ranstrom's sexual abuse sentencing on Tuesday afternoon, the teen described how her teacher manipulated and isolated her into a sexual relationship she said left her feeling betrayed and suicidal.

    Ranstrom, 32, resigned his positions at Eagle High and turned himself in to law enforcement in October after members of his family found about the relationship with the girl, who was underage when the pair began having sex. The former teacher pleaded guilty to sexual battery on a child in November.

    He was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison, with at least four years before he will become eligible for parole.

    His victim, who spoke in court before the sentence was handed down, said the abuse began with seemingly-innocent acts: A job babysitting Ranstrom's children, offers of car rides to out-of-town games, and hand-holding that she at first interpreted as fatherly affection.

    "I trusted him as a teacher, friend, and mentor, and unfortunately that trust was betrayed," the victim said. (KTVB does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.)

    Soon, she said, Ranstrom began introducing the topic of sex into their conversations, telling the girl that he wanted a physical relationship with her. Later, he thrust his hands under her shirt, the teen said, telling her he was trying "to help me get over my insecurities."

    The then-teacher even proposed a "hybrid relationship," in which the pair would act as father and daughter in public and be sexual in private. Prosecutors say Ranstrom began grooming the girl when she was a 15-year-old freshman, and went on to have a lengthy sexual relationship with her.

    The teen said Ranstrom isolated her from her family, tried to force sexual acts on her that she did not want, and turned jealous when other students expressed interest in her. Since Ranstrom's arrest, she said, she has been the target of vicious harassment and name-calling.

    "He robbed me of friendships and even firsts that should have been with someone my own age," the victim said. "He took so much from me, and things that can never be replaced."

    Prosecutor John Dinger described Ranstrom's interactions with his victim as "textbook grooming," and argued that even in his confession to police, Ranstrom minimized the seriousness of what he had done.

    "He has the audacity to refer to this as an affair, and this was not an affair," Dinger said. "It was the grooming and sexual abuse of a child."

    RELATED: Prosecutor: Former Eagle teacher had 'lengthy' sexual relationship with student

    In letters to the judge, the defendant's friends and family do the same, the prosecutor said, referring to Ranstrom's sexual relationship with an underage student as a "mistake" or "poor choice" - some suggesting that the teenage victim shared the blame.

    "His family doesn't get it. His church leaders don't get it. His friends don't get it. And the defendant doesn't get it," Dinger told the judge.

    He urged the imposition of a long prison sentence that would send a message to the community that what Ranstrom had done was unacceptable.

    "There are 2,000 students at Eagle High that will be watching what your Honor does today," he said.

    But Ranstrom's lawyer, Gabriel McCarthy, argued that the judge should strongly weigh the fact that Ranstrom turned himself in and confessed to what he had done. In addition, his guilty plea spared the victim the pain of having to testify during a lengthy trial, McCarthy said.

    The lawyer asked the judge to place Ranstrom in the rider program.

    "He did something horrible, terrible, unforgivable, and the way you show you truly want to make that right is by coming forward and confessing, not keeping it quiet," McCarthy said of Ranstrom's thinking.

    RELATED: 'I take full responsibility': Former Nampa teacher sentenced to 17 years in prison in lewd conduct case

    Ranstrom, who sat at the defense table with his head lowered for most of the hearing, choked back tears as he offered an apology.

    "Not a day has gone by that I haven't been haunted by what I've done," he said.

    But Judge Jonathan Medema said it was clear that Ranstrom's actions will have a life-long impact on the victim.

    "She looked up to you, she trusted you, she was being emotionally vulnerable with you, and you took advantage of all of those things so you could get what you want," he said.

    Medema said he hoped the 15-year sentence sends a message to anyone else who considers targeting a child.

    "I do want all the other teachers, and coaches, and counselors, and janitors, and school professionals of any kind, of any sort, who work with children to know that when they take advantage of children - when they manipulate children for their own sexual gratification - that there will be significant consequences involving the loss of their freedom," the judge said."

    ---

    Ranstrom "resigned his positions at Eagle High and turned himself in to law enforcement in October after members of his family found about the relationship with the girl, who was underage when the pair began having sex."

    ---

    "His victim, who spoke in court before the sentence was handed down, said the abuse began with seemingly-innocent acts: A job babysitting Ranstrom's children, offers of car rides to out-of-town games, and hand-holding that she at first interpreted as fatherly affection.

    "I trusted him as a teacher, friend, and mentor, and unfortunately that trust was betrayed," the victim said. (KTVB does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.)

    Soon, she said, Ranstrom began introducing the topic of sex into their conversations, telling the girl that he wanted a physical relationship with her. Later, he thrust his hands under her shirt, the teen said, telling her he was trying "to help me get over my insecurities."

    The then-teacher even proposed a "hybrid relationship," in which the pair would act as father and daughter in public and be sexual in private. Prosecutors say Ranstrom began grooming the girl when she was a 15-year-old freshman, and went on to have a lengthy sexual relationship with her.

    The teen said Ranstrom isolated her from her family, tried to force sexual acts on her that she did not want, and turned jealous when other students expressed interest in her. Since Ranstrom's arrest, she said, she has been the target of vicious harassment and name-calling.

    "He robbed me of friendships and even firsts that should have been with someone my own age," the victim said. "He took so much from me, and things that can never be replaced."

  • back to online sources list
    case number: CR01-19-41652
    Source type: Court record
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
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  • back to online sources list
    Former Eagle High teacher, coach receives 15 years in prison, 4 fixed, for sexual battery on student
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Press
    Date published/accessed: 28 Jan 2020
    archive 1 | archive 2

    BOISE — Much of the teenage girl’s statement to the court was emotional Tuesday. Her voice broke when she told a crowded courtroom about the names people had called her and the things they said about her after it became public her former teacher at Eagle High School sexually battered her.

    There were rumors the girl, who will not be named by the Idaho Press, deserved to be called those names for what she’d done, she said in court. There were rumors she’d traded sex for grades. What happened instead, prosecutors said, was a case of “textbook grooming” of a child for sex.

    Her former teacher, Jeff Ranstrom, 32, was also well-known as the school’s boys basketball coach. On Tuesday, 4th District Court Judge Jonathan Medema sentenced him to 15 years in prison for sexual battery on a child, and Ranstrom will be eligible for parole after four years. Ranstrom pleaded guilty to the charge in November; prosecutors agreed to drop charges of rape, sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of burglary, and another count of sexual battery on a child.

    Those charges had their origin in the fall of 2018, the girl told the crowd in the courtroom on Tuesday. At the time, the girl said, she’d been praying for a father figure to enter her life, because she said her own father wasn’t present. She babysat for the Ranstroms, and she also worked as a statistician for the school’s boys’ basketball team. She grew closer to Ranstrom. By December 2018, he was giving her rides to the teams’ away games. It was during one of those rides, she remembered, that he held hands with her — something she took as an innocent gesture, because she remembered doing the same thing with her own father.

    “That only began the escalation of everything,” she said.

    He became gradually more physical with her. For about a month, she remembered, he talked to her “constantly” about sexual things, and how he wished they could do those things in real life.

    Then, in January 2019, she said he touched her inappropriately. She told a friend about it.

    “(Ranstrom) knew I told her,” the girl said. “This upset him, and he swore me to secrecy, which included my friend specifically.”

    From there, she remembered, he kept isolating her. He told her to move to the back of one of his classes when he saw two of her friends, who were boys, were flirting with her. When she said she had a date with a boy, Ranstrom cried in her arms and said he was upset enough to drink alcohol, which was against his religion. When her family encouraged her to set up boundaries with him, she didn’t want to, she said, and Ranstrom sided with her. He eventually turned her against them.

    Although she asked him to stop sexually battering her about once a month, she said, he kept doing it, even specific things she asked him not to do.

    “It didn’t matter because he still tried,” she said. “At times it took everything I had to tell him to stop.”

    She wasn’t sure what was normal, she said. She believed it was consensual at the time, but she said in court she could see Ranstrom, a 32-year-old man, was manipulating her, a high school student.

    “I wanted someone to find me amazing and wonderful like my father never really had,” she said.

    Ranstrom finally did stop abusing her, she said, but only because his family members found them in the family’s hot tub. He made her go out the backdoor that night, she said, so she wouldn’t see his family. After that, he stopped talking to her.

    “That was also when I realized I was nothing but a physical body for him to use for his lustful desires,” she said.

    In the wake of that discovery, Ranstrom spoke with attorney Gabriel McCarthy and said he wanted to confess, McCarthy said in court Tuesday. McCarthy eventually facilitated that confession to Ada County Sheriff’s deputies, and prosecutors filed charges against Ranstrom on Oct. 3. McCarthy said Ranstrom disagreed with almost none of the story the girl told the court on Tuesday.

    “He acknowledged that he probably ruined the victim’s life, and that was in the very first meeting,” McCarthy said.

    John Dinger, the case’s prosecutor, said Ranstrom “wasn’t entirely honest in his interview with police,” a claim McCarthy disputed.

    Dinger pointed out many of the people who wrote letters in support of Ranstrom — who make up his support system outside of prison — rarely called what happened a “crime.”

    “A few of his supporters referred to this as what it was — a crime,” Dinger said. “But the vast majority of these people called it ‘an action.’ ‘A mistake.’ ‘A poor choice.’ ‘The incident.’ ‘That he crossed the line.’ … What he did is none of those things. What he did was the grooming and sexual abuse of a child.”

    Ranstrom spoke only very briefly to the court.

    “Not a day goes by that I haven’t been haunted by what I’ve done,” he said.

    Medema said he was conscious he would be sending a message through his sentencing. Dinger reminded him there were 2,000 students at Eagle High School who would be aware of what he did.

    The victim, Medema said, did not choose to have sex with Ranstrom the way an adult could have.

    “Adult women can make that choice,” Medema said. “Young girls cannot. … That’s why this is a crime and that’s why it’s a serious one. This is going to have lifelong impacts for her.”

  • back to online sources list
    IDAHO SOR - offender profile
    Source type: Registered sex offender record
    Publisher: Idaho State Police
    Date published/accessed: 11 Dec 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Reg ID: SX36236
    KNO: 8019160
    Name: RANSTROM, JEFF LEWIS
    Birth Date: December 08, 1986 Birth Place: ID
    Race: WHITE Sex: MALE
    Height: 6 ft 04 in Weight: 215 lbs
    Eye Color: HAZEL Hair Color: BROWN

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