Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Defense Attorneys

Salt Lake City (Murray)
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Free 15 Min. Consultation 24/7

801-651-1512

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Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
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Teacher’s Guilty Plea Illustrates Subtleties In Utah’s Sex Crimes Laws


In early February, a Davis County charter school drama teacher pleaded guilty to forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. According to the allegations, the teacher had given an underage girl rides home and fondled her on at least two occasions, and while he was charged with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, one count was dropped by the prosecutor in exchange for a guilty plea.

As a second-degree felony, forcible sexual abuse carries a possible sentence of one to 15 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. However, the prosecutors in the office of the Davis County Attorney say they will recommend that the teacher receive treatment as a sex offender at the Northern Utah Community Correction Facility.

The case serves as a reminder of the variety of laws Utah has that concern sexual activity with children. The charge against the teacher was forcible sexual abuse, which is any sort of sexual touching of a victim over the age of 14. Had the victim been under the age of 14, the charge would have been sexual abuse of a child, which is also a second-degree felony, although a number of additional circumstances (such as use of weapons, violence, threats, and even pornography) can raise it to a first-degree felony. Even being in a "position of special trust," with the victim, such as a relative, coach, teacher, or doctor (among other roles), can escalate this charge to first-degree felony - as would have been the case here, since the defendant was a teacher.

Utah’s laws regarding sexual conduct with minors are gradually more punative, based on the age of the minor and the conduct in question. For victims under the age of 14, most any sexual act beyond the sexual touching mentioned above is a first-degree felony. For victims between the ages of 14 and 18, the law offers lesser penalties for some crimes (such as unlawful sexual activity with a minor or sexual abuse of a minor) if the defendant is close in age to the victim. But this does not mean that sexual activity with persons in this age range is necessarily legal. Anyone with questions regarding Utah’s various criminal statutes pertaining to sexual activity should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.

I understand that I am contacting a corporation, not an individual, and that if I do business with the law firm, it will be with that corporation, not any individual(s). I understand that Greg Smith and Associates is not the legal name of the law firm, rather, it is "Affordable Legal Advocates, PC." I also understand that whatever may relate to, or arise out of, any communication with the law firm, which results in any type of legal action, such must be brought in the Third District Court of Utah, West Jordan Department, and that this is mandatory not permissive.

We Can Help You Now

Call 801-651-1512   Call Now 24/7 Free Consultation: 24/7, nights & weekends
Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments!*

Use our secure private form

I have read the disclaimer.

Feedback From Satisfied Clients

"The domestic violence and DUI crimes that I was charged with would have ruined my career. Thank you for saving me! You are worth every penny I paid you."

More Testimonials >

Avvo Clients' Choice Award. 5 Stars
5 Star Rating


   Review Us On Google

Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map




Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, located in Salt Lake City (SLC), also represents clients from communities such as Provo, Orem, Payson, Ogden, Park City, Sandy, Draper, West Valley City, Bountiful, Murray, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Farmington, Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City and Richfield; and counties including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Sevier County and Davis County, Utah.

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