Sanpete County Teens Accused Of Sexual Abuse Face Judge
GUNNISON, Utah – Three Sanpete County teens facing sexual abuse charges stemming from school hazing appeared before a judge for the first time.
The charges came after multiple students accused a Gunnison teenager of hazing or abuse.
Attorneys for the three defendants, whom KSL TV has chosen not to name, all entered denials to the allegations on behalf of their clients Tuesday.
A 16-year-old sophomore faces six counts of object rape, a first-degree felony, and five counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The other students, ages 14 and 15, were charged with a single count of forcible sexual abuse.
Sanpete County Deputy Attorney Wes Mangum said the number of potential victims was a major concern for the prosecution.
“What strikes me the most is their stories are very similar,” Mangum said. “Their experiences are very similar. That’s what gave myself and our office great concern.”
Judge Brody Keisel ordered the three defendants not to contact any of the victims, which he acknowledged could be difficult considering all the teenagers attend Gunnison Valley High School.
The state is vetting multiple allegations as more alleged victims have come forward over the investigation.
The next court dates for all three are set for November.
“Possible outcome for the charges can vary quite a bit,” Mangum said. “It can be a plea agreement where both (parties) can come to the table and find a resolution to this matter. It can also be set for trial.”