In an astonished voice, Judge Lynn Davis repeated the question to the 17-year-old girl standing in front of him in the courtroom.
“The community hasn’t considered you a victim in all this?” he asked.
“I would say people think I’m the perpetrator of this,” the girl replied through tears. Her mother stood beside her and put an arm around her shoulders.
The judge listened as the girl explained how community members and friends had turned on her after she reported a Spanish Fork High School counselor had sexually abused her in April.
Former friends had posted hateful social media messages and vandalized her family’s home with eggs. The girl added she lived in fear in her hometown.
“The amount of bullying and belittling I have received is already too much to handle,” she said.
Then, addressing the man sitting in the white shirt and tie behind her, she said, “Nothing could be worse than the reality you’ve given me forever.”
On Wednesday, the judge sentenced Dylan Dewey to 90 days in the Utah County Jail for a class A misdemeanor of unlawful sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old. He allowed Dewey to report to the jail on Jan. 4 after the holidays.
Dewey, 35, was given credit for the one day he served in jail after his arrest. He was also ordered to serve 24 months of probation and register for 10 years on the sex offender registry.
“I hope in the community there may be a recognition that (the girl) is, in fact, the victim,” the judge said. “Anyone harboring any ill will towards her because of this event had better look inside their own hearts.”
Dewey pleaded no contest in November to charges that he inappropriately touched the girl when she was 16 years old inside a car in Mapleton.
He worked as a counselor, assistant girls’ basketball coach and driver’s education teacher at Spanish Fork High School at the time of the abuse. The girl attended a different high school and reportedly met Dewey in April through a friend who is also a local student.
According to 4th District Court documents, Dewey picked up the girl at a gas station in Orem and drove to Mapleton where he had reportedly removed her shirt and inappropriately touched her.
He had also kissed the girl in his office and sent her text messages and messages through the smartphone app Snapchat. In one instance, Dewey reportedly showed her his underwear via the FaceTime video messaging app.
He also told her to not tell anyone so he could keep his job and stay out of prison, court documents stated.
“You knew what you were planning to do,” the girl said through tears. “I was so scared for my life to meet you there but also scared what would happen if I didn’t come.”
Dewey was placed on administrative leave by the Nebo School District following his arrest in May. School officials said Dewey resigned from his positions in August.
He had been warned about breaking district policy in the past after he reportedly sent Snapchats to a student, according to a warning letter dated December 2017. Prosecutors stated Dewey had also been given warnings because he had other female students in his office with the door closed during classes.
“She was the child, he was the adult,” said prosecuting attorney Lance Bastian. “He was trusted. He was trusted with this community’s children and violated that trust in the worst way a person possibly can.”
Defense attorney John Allan argued Dewey had no criminal record and felt remorseful about what happened. He was also reportedly struggling with depression and marital problems at the time.
“He was nothing but well-respected prior to this occurrence,” Allan said. “He wants to try and get this matter behind him.”
During the sentencing, the judge explained he had presided over several criminal sentencing that week where men had respectable reputations and still committed a sexual offense.
“I’m trying to figure out where this world is going some days,” he said quietly.
Dewey apologized to the girl during the sentencing, explaining he felt purposeless and unhappy at the time leading up to the abuse.
“It’s changed my perspective on what I do have in my life,” he said.
His wife, Rebecca, said she received many appreciative emails from students and parents who met Dewey while he worked as a counselor at the high school.
“He is a good man. He made mistakes, for sure, and exercised poor judgment,” she said. “He’s willing to accept responsibility for that.”
Prosecutors disagreed and stated that Dewey lied and initially denied the allegations. The inappropriate behavior that occurred amounted to criminal charges, not simply flirting, Bastian said.
“This was not just kissing. What he pled to was unlawful sexual conduct,” he said. “The fact that he is doing a lot of good things at the end of the day it doesn’t counterbalance the terrible thing that he did do.”
The girl’s parents also spoke at the sentencing, describing the emotional and mental trauma their daughter experienced after the sexual abuse. The mother described her hatred for Dewey had slowly become sympathy even as she continued to defend her daughter from bullying.
“I want us to all move on and learn from this mistake,” the girl’s mother said.
After the sentencing, her family members and friends smiled at each other and wiped away tears. Family members who attended the sentencing to support Dewey quietly left the courtroom and hugged each other in the hallway.
The defense attorney said he believed the judge fairly considered all the factors of the case and wished the best for both sides.
“Obviously, there are no winners here,” Allan said.
The judge repeatedly emphasized the girl did not carry any blame from the incident and denounced the social backlash from the community.
“My hope is there can be healing on both sides, particularly as it relates to (the victim),” Davis said.