A former Laramie school bus driver accused of sexually abusing two underage teenagers was sentenced in Albany County District Court Monday.

Matthew Allyn Strom was sentenced to 18-20 years in prison for each of the two counts of second degree sexual assault. They will each run consecutively, meaning Strom could be in prison for a maximum of 40 years.

Strom pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree sexual assault in January as part of a plea deal. In exchange the state agreed to dismiss the other eight charges, five of which were sexual assault in the first degree.

Strom was charged with sexually assaulting two male minors, one of them repeatedly, according to court documents.

The mother of one of the victims testified during the sentencing, and told the court the impact that Strom’s actions had had on her family and others was tremendous, saying, “none of us are ever going to be the same, this is a life sentence for all of us.”

Strom’s mother also testified, saying she understood the impacts of her son’s actions because she too is a survivor of sexual abuse as a child. She told the court that her husband and Strom’s father had terminal brain cancer and that she did not want to lose her son as well and that she hoped the court would lean more on the rehabilitative aspect of sentencing that day.

Prosecutor Cody Jerabeck said Strom took “deliberate, intentional actions” to “act on his predatory tendencies.” Jerabeck said that the largest possible term was appropriate in Strom’s case.

Vaughn Neubauer, Strom’s attorney, said Stom’s maturity level should be taken into consideration in this case and said that Strom is not a pedophile. Neubauer said that Strom was associating with people who had the same emotional maturity as him. Neubauer said Strom was a very intelligent person who was eager to make amends and who could still be a productive member of society.

Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken explained the four aspects of sentencing to Strom – punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation. She told Strom that his actions hurt the families of the two victims as well as his own family, and that “it can get no worse than what you did to these children.”

Kricken told Strom that he would be released back into society at some point and that it was his choice what the rest of his life would be, but that the court was going to take every precaution that he would not do this to any other children. Kricken said the court would impose the maximum sentence of 18-20 years for each sentence, to run consecutively.

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