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Child rape charges dismissed against Provo man

By Paige Fieldsted - Daily Herald - | Mar 26, 2014

AMERICAN FORK — The child rape case against David Hamblin has been dismissed, but charges could be refiled in the future.

Hamblin, 59, was charged in December 2012 with 12 counts of rape of a child, two counts of sodomy of a child and one count of attempted sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies, and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony. However, the case against him has made very little progress since that time.

Prosecuting attorney David Sturgill said during a court hearing Tuesday morning the prosecution is still having difficulty getting evidence it needs to move forward with the case. The allegations against Hamblin were made in 2012, nearly 20 years after the crimes allegedly occurred.

The charges were based on events that reportedly happened between 1991 and 1998 but weren’t reported until much later because the accuser told police she is still afraid for her life. Hamblin allegedly threatened to kill her and several of her family members if she ever told anyone about the abuse.

Sturgill said that because of the “extremely delayed disclosure” it has been difficult to gather evidence needed to take the case to trial, and both the prosecution and defense are having trouble getting medical records and records from the Division of Child and Family Services. Sturgill made a motion to dismiss the charges without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled in the future if the case comes together.

Hamblin’s attorney, Michael Esplin, argued the case should be dismissed with prejudice because he believes it will never be ready to go to trial. Since Hamblin was first charged, Esplin filed several motions in an attempt to get the case dismissed due to the statute of limitations running out, but all of those motions were denied.

At the time the crimes were allegedly committed, the statute of limitations for child sex crimes was four years from the first report of the crime, and Esplin argued a report of the crimes was made in 2000. However, Judge Christine Johnson ruled the allegations reported in the past and those being reported now were fundamentally different. An appeal to the Utah Appellate Court was also denied.

Sturgill said Tuesday that because the law in Utah has changed since the incidents and there is no statute of limitations for child sex crimes, he can refile anytime.

Johnson said during court Tuesday the case demonstrates the issues with prosecuting and bringing to trial older cases, and said both the defense and the prosecution face challenges in such instances. She also said if charges are ever refiled she would again consider a motion to dismiss from the defense, but for now allowed the case to be dismissed without prejudice.

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