Disappointed by story conclusions

I was disappointed by the January 27 article, “Watchdog group: Most Provo sexual assault cases involve minors” and the conclusions it drew.

I admire Courtwatch’s work a lot, but feel that it is disingenuous to imply that their results provide an accurate portrayal of the problem of sexual assault in Provo and Utah County.

These numbers tell a more complex story than what percentage of sex crimes are being committed in our communities. Instead they only address the crimes that actually make it to court. Prosecutors are more likely to take sexual assault cases to court if they involve minors because those are more likely to get a conviction.

It has been well-documented that adult victims are often ignored by prosecutors because their cases are more complex. The problem is so pervasive that a law was passed (HB 281) in 2019 to give victims an alternate pathway to getting justice for their assaults by requesting that the Attorney General’s Office review the case.

As a volunteer for the Utah County rape crisis team, I have sat in hospital rooms with countless victims and watched as over and over those victims who, while in the midst of profound trauma, have endured the invasive evidence collection procedure were never given a chance to pursue justice.

My heart of course aches for these poor children and clearly as a community we should do everything we can to protect them. At the same time, I worry that the article sends the wrong message to potential jurors, law enforcement, and policy makers.