A La Grande man who is staring at the possibility of spending 18 years behind bars for sexual abuse, is now free on appeal as he awaits a new trial. 35 year old Michael Altherr is accused of abusing a girl younger than 14 on multiple occasions, beginning when she was just 11. A Union County jury in July 2018 convicted Altherr of three counts each of third-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sexual abuse and he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The Oregon Court of Appeals however, reversed the verdict in May, and sent the case back to Union County. Altherr is now on conditional release from Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution after his mother posted his $5,000 bail.