[ {"id":"a0d65f04-f335-59de-b24e-78439af0e46d","type":"article","starttime":"1623796200","starttime_iso8601":"2021-06-15T16:30:00-06:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"crime-and-courts":"news/local/crime-and-courts"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Guilty pleas roll in from Utah Lake party organizers that violated COVID-19 guidelines","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_a0d65f04-f335-59de-b24e-78439af0e46d.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/guilty-pleas-roll-in-from-utah-lake-party-organizers-that-violated-covid-19-guidelines/article_a0d65f04-f335-59de-b24e-78439af0e46d.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/guilty-pleas-roll-in-from-utah-lake-party-organizers-that-violated-covid-19-guidelines/article_a0d65f04-f335-59de-b24e-78439af0e46d.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Connor Richards\nDaily Herald","prologue":"Four defendants who Utah County prosecutors say organized and promoted a Halloween dance party near Utah Lake that violated state COVID-19 guidelines have pleaded guilty. Branden Estrada, of Sandy, pleaded guilty in Utah County Justice Court on Monday to disobeying public health laws, a class B misdemeanor. Estrada was ordered to pay a $500 fine and to obey all laws and have no further violations for the next 12 months as part of a plea in abeyance.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["young/dumb","samuel nii","branden estrada","erik little","tanner valerio","andrew ivie","sadie salisbury","talifolaukovi foliaki","james mcreynolds","daniel mortensen","the tribe utah","valerio","utah county health department","law","criminal law","utah lake","guideline"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76","description":"A screenshot shows thousands of young adults at a Halloween dance party near Utah Lake on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, that appeared to violate state health guidelines.\u00a0","byline":"Screenshot courtesy Barstool BYU via Instagram","hireswidth":1242,"hiresheight":1467,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/9d/c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76/5fa0c8a512cf0.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1242","height":"1467","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/9d/c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76/5fa0c8a504406.image.jpg?resize=1242%2C1467"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"118","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/9d/c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76/5fa0c8a504406.image.jpg?resize=100%2C118"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"354","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/9d/c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76/5fa0c8a504406.image.jpg?resize=300%2C354"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1210","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/9d/c9d7eb89-0728-5124-9634-a2c813641d76/5fa0c8a504406.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1210"}}},{"id":"2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7","description":"A screenshot shows thousands of young adults at a Halloween dance party near Utah Lake on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, that appeared to violate state health guidelines.\u00a0","byline":"Screenshot courtesy Barstool BYU via Instagram","hireswidth":1762,"hiresheight":1242,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/c6/2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7/5fa0c8a4e4c2d.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1715","height":"1209","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/c6/2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7/5fa0c8a4d588f.image.jpg?resize=1715%2C1209"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"70","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/c6/2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7/5fa0c8a4d588f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C70"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"211","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/c6/2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7/5fa0c8a4d588f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C211"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"722","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/c6/2c6d2be8-27cd-5c9e-a625-826f72df3af7/5fa0c8a4d588f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C722"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"a0d65f04-f335-59de-b24e-78439af0e46d","body":"

Four defendants who Utah County prosecutors say organized and promoted a Halloween dance party near Utah Lake that violated state COVID-19 guidelines have pleaded guilty.

Branden Estrada, of Sandy, pleaded guilty in Utah County Justice Court on Monday to disobeying public health laws, a class B misdemeanor. Estrada was ordered to pay a $500 fine and to obey all laws and have no further violations for the next 12 months as part of a plea in abeyance.

Erik Little, of Sandy, and Tanner Valerio, of Bluffdale, also pleaded guilty and accepted similar deals on May 24, as did Andrew Ivie, of Midway, on May 17. Little and Valerio initially pleaded not guilty on Feb. 9.

The four defendants are among nine who the Utah County Attorney\u2019s Office filed criminal charges against on Feb. 8 for their alleged roles in organizing and promoting an outdoor party near Utah Lake in October 2020 that was advertised as the \u201cbiggest party in Utah this year.\u201d

The party took place as a surge in coronavirus cases hit Utah County and as state and county officials pleaded with residents to follow social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.

According to prosecutors, a review of social media posts \u201cshows that there were thousands of people in attendance, who were not wearing masks, and who were not physically distancing.\u201d

The charges against Sadie Salisbury, of Draper, Talifolaukovi Foliaki, of Pleasant Grove, James McReynolds, of Lindon, and Daniel Mortensen, of Eden, were dismissed without prejudice on April 19.

The final defendant, Samuel Nii, pleaded not guilty on May 17. Nii has a pretrial conference scheduled for July 12.

In addition to the criminal charges, the Utah County Health Department levied $10,000 fines against Nii, Estrada, Little and Valerio, as well as the Provo-based event companies The Tribe Utah and Young/Dumb.

Little and Valerio, co-owners of The Tribe Utah, advertised the party on social media, while Nii, co-founder of Young/Dumb, promoted the party on his private account, according to charging documents. Estrada was identified through social media posts as one of the DJs for the event, and Ivie was observed working with equipment on stage.

When he announced the criminal charges earlier this year, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt criticized event businesses \u201cwho profit from gathering people during a pandemic for the purpose of protesting the pandemic and for the purpose of maintaining their rights of free speech, all the while endangering not only those who were there, but countless other people who will never know that they were infected from COVID because of an event.

\u201cAnd so, philosophically, while I understand the absolute right that we as Americans have to gather with each other, and also to be involved in a society where we don\u2019t have to have masks, I also understand that we\u2019re in the middle of a pandemic that requires that we take safety measures and that we take precautions,\u201d the county attorney said.

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Utah County social workers have been having a \u201csignificant impact\u201d on criminal defense for residents who can\u2019t afford to hire legal counsel.

That\u2019s according to the Utah County Public Defender Association, which provides \u201ceffective and efficient representation to those charged with crimes in Utah County.\u201d

During a quarterly budget presentation before the Utah County Commission on Wednesday, Benjamin Young, who was hired in June 2020 as financial manager of the county public defender association, said the county recently approved letting social workers assist public defenders with their caseloads, which he said ended up being a \u201cbig success story.\u201d

\u201cAnd those social workers have been having a significant impact on the amount of work that the attorneys can do,\u201d Young told the commission. \u201cBecause it\u2019s taken off of their plate all of the (responsibilities like) taking a client to get services, to get them into programs, following up on them. \u2026 (It has) taken that off of the attorney\u2019s plate where the social worker can focus on that, which lets each of the attorneys handle more cases.\u201d

For years, public defenders in Utah County have been burdened by heavy caseloads, long work hours and staffing levels at \u201cfull capacity.\u201d

Earlier this year, after an increase in the number of cases assigned to the Utah County Public Defender Association in 2020, the Utah Indigent Defense Commission approved a grant to hire two additional Utah County public defenders for a one-year term.

In the first quarter of 2021, Utah County public defenders handled 1,052 criminal cases, equating to about 17,500 work hours, or 56.2 hours per attorney per week, according to Young, who noted that the goal is to stay under 60 hours.

\u201cSo, I mean, that\u2019s right there,\u201d he said. \u201cThat\u2019s at the funding level we want and with the appropriate number of attorneys.\u201d

The decreased workload is mainly thanks to the social workers, according to Young, who noted that \u201cthey\u2019re having a significant impact and it\u2019s a huge time-saver for them (the public defenders).\u201d

The financial manager said he is working on preparing \u201cquantifiable data\u201d to demonstrate the impact the social workers have had on the public defender association.

\u201cIn the interim, I would just say that it\u2019s made a significant difference and it\u2019s really gotten us where we should be,\u201d he said.

According to a presentation on Wednesday, Utah County public defenders saw a decrease in drug cases and orders to show cause \u2014 where defendants are ordered to re-appear in court \u2014 in the first quarter of the year. At the same time, public defenders saw an increase in aggravated persons cases, which Young said require more time and resources to work on.

Young also noted that the public defender association is working with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services to get \u201cspecial federal funding that\u2019s reserved for child welfare,\u201d funding that he said could be used to reimburse money spent by the county to provide public defense for parents and children in juvenile court.

\u201cIt\u2019s just another avenue that we\u2019re looking to expand every dollar that we get from Utah County to stretch it as far as possible. This would just expand those dollars a little bit further,\u201d he said.

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Just over one week after Robert Sterling Clark was arrested after a six-hour standoff with law enforcement in Pleasant Grove, in which he allegedly fired his rifle at police officers, he has been released from jail.

Clark\u2019s release sparked some pointed discussion around bail reform and highlights disagreement between the Utah County Sheriff\u2019s Office and Utah County Attorney David Leavitt over how it was allowed to happen.

Following the disagreements, charges were filed by the Utah County Attorney's Office on Wednesday night and the Utah County Attorney's Office PIO Sherrie Hall Everett confirmed that Clark was arrested in Orem at approximately 10 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the Utah County Sheriff\u2019s Office inmate lookup, Clark was released Tuesday after being booked for four charges of attempted aggravated murder, one charge of attempted murder, one charge of aggravated assault, and unlawfully discharging a firearm.

The incident began at approximately 2:40 p.m. on March 16, when Clark was reportedly holding a gun and shooting it into the air. He then allegedly shot the gun at his neighbor, and another caller reported having their vehicle shot at by Clark.

When officers were dispatched to the scene, Clark was seen on his second-floor balcony firing the weapon several more times, according to the probable cause statement.

As officers began to set up a perimeter around the house, Clark also reportedly fired several more shots at officers in his backyard.

The Utah County Joint SWAT team eventually arrived, using negotiators to try and convince Clark to exit his home. He reportedly told negotiators that he was prepared with a lot of ammunition and if officers were to enter the home, he would kill them.

The SWAT team later used gas in the residence to try and get Clark to exit the house, but it did not work. After an armored vehicle was used to breach the front door and window, Clark was arrested and complied with law enforcement.

Clark reportedly had not been taking his medication for his paranoid schizophrenia for the past several months and stated he does not trust the police because they \u201ceat zombie flesh.\u201d

The probable cause statement stated that Clark is a danger to himself and everyone around him, including people driving on the street, neighbors and police.

A request for no bail was made for Clark because of these violent actions and his unregulated medication.

Leavitt said his office had a certain number of days to file the charges against Clark, but that time can be extended in serious cases that require more work.

Leavitt said that a motion was filed asking that the custody status be continued until Thursday so charges could be filed.

\u201cThat is typically a routine motion that gets filed and gets granted,\u201d Leavitt said Wednesday. \u201cFor reasons that we don\u2019t know, the court, despite having the motion, didn\u2019t call the case or even address the motion and instead ordered the defendant\u2019s release. Once we learned that was the case we contacted the court, which was actually a different judge and that judge signed the order, but by that point, the defendant had been released.\u201d

On Wednesday morning, the Utah County Sheriff\u2019s Office put out a statement linking Clark\u2019s release to a bail reform bill that has been repealed by the Utah State Legislature, and was signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox on Wednesday.

The bill involved people waiting on trials to be released if they could not afford bail and were no threat to fleeing prosecution. Leavitt has been outspoken in his support of the bill, while the Utah Sheriffs\u2019 Association has spoken out in favor of the repeal.

Leavitt said that Clark\u2019s release has nothing to do with bail reform, adding that it was due to a lack of decision by the judge that would have happened under any circumstances.

Clark was held by the first judge on no bail, then the second judge ordered his release. Leavitt said he believes the court made a mistake.

\u201cI have no idea why the court did not call the case,\u201d Leavitt said. \u201cIt had been filed, our prosecutors were ready to address it, the court just didn\u2019t call the case.\u201d

He said that Clark was not let out of jail due to the bail reform statute and if a press release is claiming that, it is factually an error.

UCSO PIO Sgt. Spencer Cannon told the Herald that Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith is under the impression that Clark was released due to procedures tied to the bail reform bill. Cannon added that while the county attorney may not believe or agree that it is tied to bail reform, the question remains, why is Clark out of jail?

The reason Cannon cited was the lack of charges being filed.

\u201cIf it didn\u2019t have anything to do with the bail reform that let him out, then it has everything to do with the county attorney\u2019s office not doing their job,\u201d Cannon said.

He also brought up public safety, saying that law enforcement did its job by arresting the man and the County Attorney\u2019s Office needs to keep him in jail to protect the public.

In a press release from the department, Smith said it is not acceptable for people who are a danger to themselves and to the community to be released from jail. He continued, saying that supporters of bail reform should be ashamed of the damage they are doing to the criminal justice system.

State Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, tweeted about the issue saying that bail reform is not the problem but that holding someone without charges is.

\u201cThis type of misinformation is so harmful to progress,\u201d Stoddard said in a tweet. \u201cThe problem here is that the DA didn\u2019t charge him in time, so the jail had to release him. Not a bail issue, it\u2019s the simple notion that we don\u2019t incarcerate people who haven\u2019t been charged with a crime.\u201d

Leavitt said that the attorney\u2019s office is reviewing the charges, determining which ones to file, and once the charges are filed then a warrant will be put out for Clark\u2019s arrest.

\u201cI would imagine charges will be filed today,\u201d Leavitt said when asked about a timeline for those charges.

On Wednesday at approximately 4:30 p.m., the Utah County Attorney\u2019s Office said the charges against Clark had been filed. These charges included assault against a peace officer or military service member, felony discharge of a firearm, aggravated assault, and felony discharge of a firearm.

The next step in the process is to have a judge sign off on the charges and have a warrant put out for his arrest.

The warrant for Clark\u2019s arrest was signed at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the County Attorney\u2019s Office, and was given to the Pleasant Grove Police Department to carry out.

Clark was arrested at 10 p.m. on Wednesday following the charges being filed and a warrant for his arrest being issued.

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A man convicted of killing a Spanish Fork High School student in 1995 was denied parole this week after officials said he failed to cooperate in \u201cgood faith efforts to find the victim\u2019s remains.\u201d

Timmy Brent Olsen, who pleaded guilty in February 2011 for his role in killing 15-year-old Kiplyn Davis, had his first parole hearing on March 9.

During that hearing, Olsen told the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole about progress he\u2019s made while incarcerated but refused to answer questions about the case and where Davis\u2019 remains may be located.

The hearing took place less than two weeks after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill into law that blocks parole for someone convicted of homicide unless \u201cthe remains of the victim have been recovered\u201d or \u201cthe offender can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the offender has cooperated in good faith efforts to locate the remains.\u201d

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell, Spanish Fork, was inspired by Davis\u2019 disappearance.

According to Utah County prosecutors, Olsen led investigators on a \u201cwild goose\u201d chase and changed his story about where Davis may be buried. Richard Davis, the girl\u2019s father, has pleaded with Olsen for years to reveal the location of his daughter\u2019s remains.

The parole board specifically referenced the new law in its decision on Tuesday to deny Olsen parole, which noted that \u201cThe Board finds that the victim\u2019s remains have not been located or recovered\u201d and \u201cthat Mr. Olsen has not cooperated in good faith in efforts to locate the victim\u2019s remains.

\u201cBased on current legislative changes to Utah Code 77-27-9, Mr. Olsen has not met the requirements for parole,\u201d the board wrote in its decision. \u201cIndependent of the requirements outlined in Utah Code 77-27-9, and considering the totality of the factual circumstances in this case, the Board finds expiration of sentence appropriate.\u201d

The decision further noted that \u201cif at any future date Mr. Olsen can present evidence which leads to the location and recovery of the victim\u2019s remains, or that shows he acted in good faith to do so, the Board will reconsider the decision of expiration of sentence.\u201d

After Olsen\u2019s parole hearing, his attorney, Carolyn Howard, told the Daily Herald she believed her client had been \u201chonest and truthful\u201d about not having any additional information about the location of Davis\u2019 remains.

Howard criticized the new law, saying it is \u201calmost as if he\u2019s being retried\u201d and \u201cthe problem with the law is that it essentially comes down to credibility.\u201d

Without parole, Olsen\u2019s 15-year sentence is set to expire in February 2026.

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The Utah County Children\u2019s Justice Center anticipates losing out on approximately $219,000 in funding over the next two years due to cuts at the federal level.

The Children\u2019s Justice Center, located in Provo, is a \u201chome-like facility that brings together professionals from law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical services, and victim advocacy to work together on child abuse cases,\u201d according to a presentation during a Utah County Commission work session on Wednesday.

\u201cIt\u2019s a safe place for kids to talk about something very difficult that\u2019s happened to them and to reveal the truth about what\u2019s happened to them,\u201d said Rebecca Martell, executive director of the Children\u2019s Justice Center.

The majority of the center\u2019s funding, about 40%, comes from federal grants, including Victims of Crime Act grants, according to Martell, who added that about 34% comes from the state, 18% comes from the county and 8% comes from private donations.

Martell told the commissioners that changes to VOCA grant funding approved by Congress will result in a 10% reduction in funding for the Children\u2019s Justice Center this year, about $93,000, and a 15% cut the following year, about $126,000.

\u201cSo as these cuts are coming, it is going to really affect us,\u201d the executive director said, noting that the money \u201cfunds a lot of programs where we\u2019re able to provide these direct services to victims in the community.\u201d

Because of the cuts, Martell said the center will have to eliminate its clinical coordinator position.

\u201cWe are concerned because this person is doing trauma and suicide screening with kids, and what we\u2019ve seen at our center is about 40% of the kids who come in are at some kind of suicide risk, unfortunately,\u201d said Martell.

Additionally, the cuts would require the center to eliminate three paid intern positions, as well as some emergency funds and interpretive services.

Martell noted that federal lawmakers are currently considering a bill \u201cthat could fix this cut.\u201d

The bill, titled \u201cVOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021,\u201d states that it would \u201cdeposit certain funds into the Crime Victims Fund, to waive matching requirements, and for other purposes.\u201d

Also during Wednesday\u2019s work session, Heather Allen, assistant director of the Utah County Children\u2019s Justice Center, talked about expansion of the justice center into north Utah County.

The justice center purchased a building in American Fork in December 2020 and is currently waiting on permits to begin renovations, according to Allen, who said the renovations will likely cost around $1.2 million.

\u201cWe want to create a home-like environment, we want kids and families to feel welcome when they come in,\u201d Allen said.

The justice center has raised about $600,000 to pay for the renovations, according to Allen, including $300,000 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, $85,000 from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and about $97,000 in CARES Act funds allocated by the Mountainland Association of Governments.

\u201cWe are still continuing our work and doing everything that we can to support child victims in our community, regardless of whatever is going on with our funding,\u201d Martell told the commissioners.

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A man convicted of killing a Spanish Fork High School student in 1995 refused to answer questions about where to find the girl\u2019s remains during a parole hearing on Tuesday and said he has already provided law enforcement with all of the information he can.

Timmy Brent Olsen pleaded guilty in February 2011 to second-degree felony manslaughter for his role in killing 15-year-old Kiplyn Davis.

Prosecutors said they agreed to the plea deal for Olsen, who was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison, because of the difficulty of the case, given that they had been unable to locate the girl\u2019s body.

According to The Associated Press, Olsen, a former classmate of Davis, led prosecutors on a \u201cwild goose chase\u201d and changed his story about the girl being buried in Spanish Fork Canyon.

In his first parole hearing since being convicted, Olsen told the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole about his \u201cprogress while being incarcerated\u201d and \u201cdiscussed some of the things that he has done to make progress,\u201d including getting a culinary arts certification, according to Carolyn Howard, an attorney representing Olsen.

The attorney said Olsen told the board how \u201che had become a much better person and a much better man\u201d while incarcerated and admitted that his prior use of alcohol had been \u201cvery destructive in his life years ago, even though he was much younger.\u201d

He also refused to answer questions about the case and as to where Davis\u2019 remains may be located, despite being told that not doing so could prevent him from being granted parole.

A new law approved by the Utah State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox in February blocks parole for someone convicted of homicide unless \u201cthe remains of the victim have been recovered\u201d or \u201cthe offender can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the offender has cooperated in good faith efforts to locate the remains.\u201d

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, was inspired by Davis\u2019 disappearance and supported by her father, Richard Davis.

\u201cThe primary questions that they had to ask of him today, and did ask of him today, was pursuant to the new law that has been passed, as to whether he was willing to provide any information as to the location of Kiplyn Davis\u2019 body and her remains,\u201d Howard told the Daily Herald on Tuesday. \u201cHe stated that he did not have any information on that subject. He provided the authorities years ago with the only information he did have on his knowledge of where the remains of Kiplyn Davis were. But as of today, he does not have additional information. And so he was not able to provide the information that they were seeking as to Kiplyn Davis\u2019 remains.\u201d

Though she believes Olsen was \u201chonest and truthful\u201d during the parole hearing, Howard said she \u201chad no expectation today that he would be released because of this new law that was raised at the hearing today multiple times and provides that he remains incarcerated if he\u2019s not able to give information as to the location of Kiplyn Davis\u2019 body.\u201d

\u201cAnd while he was truthful, it\u2019s our understanding, or it\u2019s our expectation, they\u2019re likely not to release him,\u201d the attorney said.

Howard criticized the new law and said it is \u201calmost as if he\u2019s being retried,\u201d adding that \u201cthe problem with the law is that it essentially comes down to credibility.\u201d

The Board of Pardons and Parole had not made a decision whether to grant Olsen parole as of Tuesday evening.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill into law exempting the \u201cdeliberative process\u201d of the parole board from public meeting requirements.

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The Utah State Legislature passed a bill this week that will repeal most of a recently implemented bail reform law that allows judges to release pretrial suspects who are at low risk of fleeing prosecution and are only sitting in jail because they cannot afford bail.

Lawmakers passed the repeal bill, House Bill 220, despite vocal opposition from public defenders and the top prosecutors of Utah\u2019s three most populous counties, who called the repeal a \u201cbad faith\u201d effort that would negatively and disproportionately impact Utahns who cannot afford bail.

\u201cIf bail reform gets repealed, our community \u2026 will be less just,\u201d Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said on Monday during a press conference. \u201cMonetary bail is not a measure of risk and it does not protect public safety. It is simply a measurement of wealth and connections.\u201d

\u201cWe are five months into substantive reform, and, as the Utah County Attorney, I would plead with our Utah Legislature to let bail reform continue,\u201d added Utah County Attorney David Leavitt.

But supporters of the repeal effort, including the Utah Sheriffs\u2019 Association, argue that the reform has \u201cnot delivered as it was intended to\u201d and has resulted in dangerous individuals being released from custody without bail.

\u201cThere are two things, at least, that there is consensus on in this issue,\u201d Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Draper, the bill\u2019s co-sponsor, said on Wednesday. \u201cOne is that the implementation of House Bill 206 that deals with bail bond reform last year has not been successful. And the other consensus is that there needs to be some fixes and some reform on this.\u201d

The sponsors tweaked the bill on Tuesday to incorporate \u201ccompromises from the various working groups that have been going on this session,\u201d according to Cullimore, an attorney, who noted that the amended bill \u201crepeals a lot of the contentious stuff.\u201d

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, who is sponsoring a bill that would create a task force to study pretrial services, said the amended repeal bill contained \u201cinternal consistencies\u201d and \u201ccreates a tremendous amount of confusion.\u201d

\u201cSo it\u2019s now a repeal bill that doesn\u2019t repeal, it\u2019s a fix-it bill that doesn\u2019t fix,\u201d Weiler told the Senate on Wednesday. \u201cIt creates more confusion than it resolves.\u201d

Weiler pointed out that the bill is opposed by victim advocacy groups, including the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Rape Recovery Center, as well as \u201ccounty attorneys from the three largest counties who prosecute 80% of the criminal cases in this state.\u201d

\u201cThe private defense attorneys appear to like it, but the public defenders across the state are uniformly against (H.B.) 220,\u201d said Weiler, who is an attorney.

Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, voiced concern with repealing bail reform and returning to a system that \u201cwas problematic\u201d and \u201cdisproportionately affected\u201d people who \u201cdidn\u2019t have the means.\u201d

\u201cIt really is not my interest to preserve a portion of our industry, bail bond industry, for sake of their profits, when there is a fundamental right to have fairness in front of the law,\u201d the Lehi senator said. \u201cAnd, to me, whether or not we hold someone should be based upon their threat level, not upon their ability to pay.\u201d

But Anderegg, who ultimately voted to approve the bill, agreed that the new system needs to be revised, noting that implementation of the reform in rural counties has been \u201cmuch more problematic\u201d than implementation in Utah, Salt Lake and Davis counties.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, spoke against the bill and said those who argue that bail reform has negatively impacted public safety lack data to back up their claims.

\u201cThe data on your desks shows that this is working,\u201d Thatcher told his colleagues. \u201cWe have the data. It\u2019s not anecdotes, it\u2019s not stories, it\u2019s not binders full of unrelated cases. The data is on your desks. It\u2019s working. The most dangerous people are being held without bail, which would be removed under this bill.\u201d

The amended version of H.B. 220 passed through the Senate with a 20-8 vote. The changes to the bill were later approved on Wednesday by the House, which passed the original bill on Feb. 5.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Spencer Cox.

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The American Fork City Council received a presentation on Tuesday about how the city can reduce crime using urban and architectural design techniques, including increasing lighting around buildings or requiring businesses to leave 90% of their windows and doorways uncovered by signs or stickers.

The presentation centered on \u201cCrime Prevention Through Environmental Design,\u201d a multidisciplinary effort \u201cto reduce opportunities for crime that may be inherent in the design or structures or in the design of neighborhoods.\u201d

\u201cBasically the premise behind it is through properly designing your buildings, your areas around a building and things like that, you can have a significant impact on crime,\u201d said American Fork Police Department Chief Darren Falslev. \u201cThat can be anywhere from fencing to lighting to windows and things like that, as well as just having people walk by a building.

\u201cPeople don\u2019t want to commit a crime when they can be seen,\u201d the police chief added.

Lt. Josh Christensen, public information officer of the American Fork Police Department, told the city council that the first element of CPTED is \u201cnatural surveillance,\u201d in which residents report crimes that they see to the police department. Christensen said the city can encourage natural surveillance by building walkways and increasing lighting in areas that may be prone to crime.

Another element is \u201caccess control,\u201d according to Christensen, who told the city council that \u201cas you can imagine, criminals are looking for that easy in, easy out, they want to be able to quickly get into a location, commit their crime, and get out undetected.\u201d

The city can encourage this by building neighborhoods with only one way out, while residents and business owners can plant large, thorny plants around their property.

\u201cYou plant a big thorny bush under each window at your house, you\u2019re less likely to have somebody standing under your window, trying to break in, trying to get the window open and what not,\u201d Christensen said.

Christensen described the third element, \u201cterritorial reinforcement,\u201d as \u201ca psychological impression that people get when they look at a property.\u201d

According to the presentation, properties that are \u201cclean and well maintained are more likely to attract residents who take pride in their community\u201d and promote \u201cconfidence in the management team.\u201d

Christensen compared this environmental design concept to the broken windows theory, a theory in criminology that visible signs of crime, like a broken window, can encourage further crime.

\u201cAnd that (a well-maintained property) tells the public, good guys or bad guys, that, \u2018Alright, these people care, and they\u2019re going to notice if I\u2019m doing something that I shouldn\u2019t,\u2019 \u201d he said.

In order to increase visibility in public parks, shrubs should be no taller than 2 feet and the canopy of a tree should not be lower than 6 feet, according to Christensen.

Christensen recommended that American Fork business owners make the insides of their businesses as visible as possible, noting that some cities have implemented a \u201c10% rule\u201d where businesses are only allowed to cover 10% of their windows.

Councilmember Rob Shelton said he \u201clove(d) the idea\u201d of CPTED and of encouraging local businesses and residents to consider how the environment around them may impact crime.

\u201cI think, in the long term, it\u2019s going to be a lot less expensive to install lighting than it is to add additional police officers, or to trim bushes than to add additional police officers,\u201d said Shelton. \u201cSo just from the economic standpoint, I think it makes a lot of sense.\u201d

Mayor Brad Frost said he agreed but added that he thought the design elements should be suggestions rather than \u201cputting this into code.\u201d

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Multiple county attorneys and public defenders, including Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, are speaking out against a bill being considered by the Utah State Legislature that would repeal bail reform that lawmakers passed last year.

House Bill 220, sponsored by House Majority Whip Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, would remove \u201cthe substantive changes to the bail system\u201d that were made by H.B. 206, which amended Utah\u2019s pretrial system to allow for the release of pretrial suspects who are at low risk of fleeing prosecution and are only sitting in jail because they cannot afford bail.

The reform effort was heavily lobbied against at the time by the bail bond industry, and the Utah Sheriffs\u2019 Association currently supports its repeal.

On Feb. 5, Schultz told the House, which approved the bill on a 51-21 vote, that the reform has \u201cnot delivered as it was intended to\u201d since it was implemented in October 2020 and called the new bail system \u201cbroken on all sides.\u201d

Schultz talked about an individual who was arrested in Cache County for 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and \u201cwas released within hours with no bounty.\u201d

\u201cDoes this sound like a more thoughtful, individualized approach? Does it sound like it provided more tools for the judge, and has it addressed to a greater extent the public safety risk? It doesn\u2019t sound like it to me,\u201d the lawmaker said.

But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill called the idea that bail reform decreases public safety a \u201cfalse argument\u201d and called the repeal effort \u201calarmist and knee-jerk without any factual basis whatsoever.\u201d

\u201cIf bail reform gets repealed, our community \u2026 will be less just,\u201d Gill said on Monday during a press conference in Salt Lake City. \u201cMonetary bail is not a measure of risk and it does not protect public safety. It is simply a measurement of wealth and connections.\u201d

At the press conference, Leavitt said stakeholders pushed for reform last year because they understood that Utah\u2019s bail system \u201cwasn\u2019t serving our purposes of protecting victims and protecting the larger society.\u201d

\u201cWhat it did was ensure that the wealthy, who could also be dangerous, had the capacity to bail out and continue to perpetrate their crimes,\u201d Utah County\u2019s top prosecutor said. \u201cWhat we need is the ability to hold wealthy people who are dangerous without bail. And that\u2019s what this bail reform bill that passed last year does.\u201d

In response to anecdotal \u201cassertions that dangerous people are getting out,\u201d Leavitt said that \u201cwhenever you change from one system to another, there\u2019s certainly going to be a learning curve.\u201d

\u201cAnd we had a learning curve,\u201d he said. \u201cBut we are five months into substantive reform, and, as the Utah County Attorney, I would plead with our Utah Legislature to let bail reform continue.\u201d

Ben Aldana, an attorney with Utah County Public Defender Association, said he wanted to speak against the repeal effort \u201cbecause my clients don\u2019t have expensive lobbyists up on the Hill like the bail industry does and like the Sheriffs\u2019 Association does to go and push their agenda, whatever that may be.\u201d

Only 12% of more than 4,000 individuals that have been arrested since October were found to have posed a risk to the community, according to Gill, who said \u201cthe other side will not bring any data forward.\u201d

\u201cSo, bail reform is working in Salt Lake County. And it is working in Utah. And it is creating a fair and just system that is constitutionally sound and equitable without compromising on public safety, without passing that cost onto the taxpayers and without upholding a system that is exploitative of the poor, oppressive to our communities of color and unjust to our ideals of justice, fairness, equality and truth,\u201d Gill said.

The attorneys agreed that the reformed bail system is \u201cnot perfect\u201d and said they supported Senate Bill 171, which would create a task force to \u201cidentify barriers to effective implementation of pretrial services and develop protocols and procedures to overcome those barriers\u201d and \u201cmake legislative recommendations regarding best practices related to pretrial services.\u201d

S.B. 171, which is sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, passed its second reading in the Senate on Thursday with a 16-11 vote.

The repeal bill, meanwhile, received a favorable recommendation on Tuesday from the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee with a 4-3 vote.

"}, {"id":"0a343afd-2696-5008-9273-f014c00176eb","type":"article","starttime":"1614209400","starttime_iso8601":"2021-02-24T16:30:00-07:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"crime-and-courts":"news/local/crime-and-courts"},{"govt-and-politics":"news/local/govt-and-politics"}],"flags":{"featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Colorado woman says she was punished for reporting sexual assault at Utah residential treatment facility","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_0a343afd-2696-5008-9273-f014c00176eb.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/colorado-woman-says-she-was-punished-for-reporting-sexual-assault-at-utah-residential-treatment-facility/article_0a343afd-2696-5008-9273-f014c00176eb.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/colorado-woman-says-she-was-punished-for-reporting-sexual-assault-at-utah-residential-treatment-facility/article_0a343afd-2696-5008-9273-f014c00176eb.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Connor Richards\nDaily Herald","prologue":"A Colorado woman is suing a Utah youth residential treatment facility that she says punished her after she reported being sexually assaulted by a male staff member while she was a minor, and says she was inspired by the stories of Paris Hilton and others to come forward. A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Utah\u2019s 6th District Court alleges that Hannah Archuleta, of Colorado, was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions in late 2019 by a male staff member at Turn-About Ranch, a youth residential treatment facility in Escalante.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["sb 127","gloria allred","turn-about ranch","residential youth treatment center","treatment facility","troubled teen","lawsuit","utah's 6th district court","garfield county"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43","description":"Hannah Archuleta, of Colorado, rides a horse at Turn-About Ranch in Escalante. Archuleta claims she was sexually assaulted by a male staff member while a minor at the facility.\u00a0","byline":"Courtesy Hannah Archuleta","hireswidth":1941,"hiresheight":1467,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/9a/b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43/6036e0998d660.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1656","height":"1252","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/9a/b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43/6036e0997cbc4.image.jpg?resize=1656%2C1252"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"76","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/9a/b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43/6036e0997cbc4.image.jpg?resize=100%2C76"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"227","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/9a/b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43/6036e0997cbc4.image.jpg?resize=300%2C227"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"774","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/9a/b9adb15e-f29f-5cf1-9683-19c749547e43/6036e0997cbc4.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C774"}}},{"id":"6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258","description":"California-based women's rights attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a press conference about a lawsuit filed against Turn-About Ranch in Escalante on Wednesday, Feb. 24.\u00a0","byline":"Screenshot via Zoom","hireswidth":2196,"hiresheight":1452,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a0/6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258/6036e0996aa24.hires.png","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"1770","height":"1170","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a0/6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258/6036e08ec1701.image.png?resize=1770%2C1170"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"66","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a0/6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258/6036e08ec1701.image.png?resize=100%2C66"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"198","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a0/6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258/6036e08ec1701.image.png?resize=300%2C198"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"677","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a0/6a0c4b8f-30d2-50f4-a280-5db456c81258/6036e08ec1701.image.png?resize=1024%2C677"}}}],"revision":10,"commentID":"0a343afd-2696-5008-9273-f014c00176eb","body":"

A Colorado woman is suing a Utah youth residential treatment facility that she says punished her after she reported being sexually assaulted by a male staff member while she was a minor, and says she was inspired by the stories of Paris Hilton and others to come forward.

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Utah\u2019s 6th District Court alleges that Hannah Archuleta, of Colorado, was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions in late 2019 by a male staff member at Turn-About Ranch, a youth residential treatment facility in Escalante.

The suit further alleges that the Turn-About Ranch \u201ctook no remedial action after Ms. Archuleta reported the sexual assaults\u201d and \u201cretaliated against Ms. Archuleta by subjecting her to both physical and emotional abuse to silence her.\u201d

\u201c(Turn-About Ranch) was negligent in hiring, retaining, and supervising the staff member who assaulted Ms. Archuleta and is vicariously liable for the staff member\u2019s assaults and batteries,\u201d the lawsuit reads.

Turn-About Ranch describes itself on its website as a \u201creal, working cattle ranch\u201d where students learn about concepts like leadership, teamwork, accountability, and responsibility.\u201d

According to the lawsuit, Archuleta, then 17, was transported to Turn-About Ranch in October 2019, immediately after appearing on \u201cDr. Phil.\u201d Less than two weeks after arriving, Archuleta was standing alone in the kitchen of a building when a \u201cgrown man\u201d staff member \u201cwalked up behind her, and without warning or even words, grabbed \u2026 (her) buttocks.\u201d

Later, in about late November or early December 2019, the same staff member \u201caggressively slipped his hand under her buttocks and touched her vaginal area\u201d and \u201csqueezed her vagina and buttocks crack,\u201d the lawsuit alleges.

Archuleta reported the incident to a residential coach, therapist and nurse and \u201cwas instructed to write a detailed letter describing the Male Staff Member\u2019s assaults, which she was told would be given to a member of the Ranch\u2019s Management.\u201d

\u201cThe Turn-About staff to whom Ms. Archuleta reported the assaults were skeptical and dismissive of her allegations,\u201d the lawsuit said. \u201cFor instance, the Residential Coach responded that Ms. Archuleta was lying \u2018because you\u2019re crying so much\u2019 about what happened, adding, \u2018only liars cry.\u2019 Turn-About staff shamed and humiliated Ms. Archuleta for expressing emotion at having been sexually assaulted.\u201d

Staff allegedly punished Archuleta for reporting the assault with \u201cretaliatory actions\u201d including \u201creflection time\u201d that \u201cconsisted of picking up horse manure for hours, walking in circles around a horse (corral) for hours, and/or being placed at a desk facing a wall.\u201d

Other alleged punishments included \u201cforced walks in the Ranch corral, up to six or more hours a day\u201d and \u201cforced labor in extreme temperatures, and leaving her outside in below-freezing temperatures.\u201d

Around the time Archuleta made her complaint, another minor reported being sexually assaulted by the same male staff member, according to the lawsuit.

\u201cEven after these reports and complaints, Turn-About allowed the Male Staff Member to remain at the Ranch, thereby enabling him access to other female minor wards of the Ranch,\u201d the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit comes weeks after Paris Hilton testified before a Utah Senate committee about the abuse she allegedly underwent at Provo Canyon School in Utah County, and as Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase oversight at residential youth treatment centers in the state.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Archuleta said she was speaking out \u201cto spread the message to every parent in America: Do not send your children to these places or endorse them.

\u201cIf you or anyone you know has suffered sexual assault or child abuse or retaliation at any of these so-called \u2018ranches,\u2019 \u2018therapeutic boarding schools\u2019 or \u2018wilderness programs,\u2019 please report it,\u201d she said.

Archuleta endorsed Senate Bill 127, which is sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, noting that \u201cthere has been too much abuse in these private schools and programs where many so-called \u2018troubled teens\u2019 have been sent by their parents with the hope that it would help them.\u201d

S.B. 127 was unanimously approved by the Senate on Feb. 16 and received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday. The bill still needs to be voted on by the House.

Tony Archuleta, the woman\u2019s father, said he filed a report with the Garfield County Sheriff\u2019s Office in December 2019 but never \u201creceived any follow-up from them.\u201d

\u201cI personally feel they swept it under the rug without even bothering to interview Hannah as a victim,\u201d he said during the press conference.

The woman is represented by Gloria Allred, a California-based women\u2019s rights attorney who has represented celebrities in high-profile abuse cases; she is also represented by Salt Lake City-based attorney April Hollingsworth.

In a written statement, the administration of Turn-About Ranch said they \u201cstrongly deny\u201d the allegations and \u201cwere unaware that a suit would be filed.\u201d

\u201cUpon learning of this young woman\u2019s accusation, we took immediate action,\u201d the administration said. \u201cUnfortunately, her father removed her from our facility before we could conduct a full inquiry. Both she and her father were unwilling to communicate with us from that time. We interviewed other students and staff members and were unable to corroborate her story. We fully cooperated with the Garfield County Sheriff\u2019s Office, but without further contact with the accusing party, our options were limited.\u201d

The statement continued that \u201cthe next communication we received was a demand for cash payment in order to avoid litigation some months ago.\u201d

\u201cWe would never take lightly an allegation of mistreatment to any of our students,\u201d the statement said. \u201cNow that this incident is the subject of litigation, we must withhold our full response for a later date. But it is important to note that these allegations were fully investigated and that the account given by opposing legal counsel to the media was incomplete, to say the least.\u201d

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