Utah Filmmaker Pleads Guilty Again To Sexually Abusing Child

May 2, 2019, 12:43 PM

Sterling Van Wagenen enters guilty plea in Salt Lake County...

Sterling Van Wagenen enters guilty plea in Salt Lake County

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Utah filmmaker Sterling Van Wagenen pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a young girl. It’s the second such plea he’s made in a week’s time.

Van Wagenen, 71, appeared in Salt Lake County’s Third District Court in West Jordan on Thursday. He also pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a separate abuse case involving the same victim that reportedly happened in Utah County.

“Today was a virtually identical situation as Tuesday’s,” said Van Wagenen’s attorney Steven Shapiro. “The only difference being this was an incident that occurred on this side of the county line. Same conduct, same alleged victim.”

Shapiro said prosecutors in both Salt Lake and Utah counties agreed to seek sentences of at least six years and up to life in prison — to be served concurrently — in exchange for  Van Wagenen’s guilty pleas.

As he did on Tuesday, Van Wagenen waived his right to a trial.

Shapiro said his client has accepted his wrongdoing and wants to move forward without further harming the victim or her family with what could have been more than a year in court proceedings.

Van Wagenen is currently in treatment and will remain free until his sentencing hearing, which will take place July 2 in Utah County.

The former University of Utah and BYU employee is known for co-founding the Sundance Film Festival.

KSL’s Annie Knox contributed to this report.


Sundance Co-Founder Admits To Sexually Abusing Girl

New Allegations Surface Against Sundance Co-Founder

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

FILE: Jay Schmidt shows the texts between himself and a scammer....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Fraudster impersonates Gov. Cox, asks for gift cards

A fraudster impersonated Gov. Cox, trying to swindle others into buying gift cards.

22 hours ago

(Courtesy: Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Eliza Pace & Shelby Lofton

UPDATE: One killed in stabbing, one person in custody

SALT LAKE CITY — One person was stabbed and killed near 1875 South Redwood Road Thursday evening. According to the Salt Lake City Police Department, the investigation began when a call of a stabbing came in at around 5:39 p.m. “They found a man who was down on the ground with critical life-threatening injuries,” said […]

22 hours ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Ladd Egan

High runoff is both good and bad news for algal blooms on Utah Lake

In recent years, algal blooms started to develop on Utah Lake around mid-June. This year, Bonner said the blooms could be delayed if the water level stays high and cold.

22 hours ago

Utah ski resort...

Alex Cabrero

Utah’s ski resorts report record-breaking season

Utah's ski resorts continue to celebrate an extraordinary winter season.

22 hours ago

Dead mosquitos...

Mike Anderson

The downside to the record snow and runoff water: Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are likely to be a big problem this summer, thanks to all of that much-needed water we now have.

22 hours ago

Tanya Vea...

Larry D. Curtis

Darrell Brown to retire as Bonneville president, Tanya Vea will helm company

SALT LAKE CITY — President of Bonneville International Corporation, Darrell Brown, announced his retirement Thursday, scheduled beginning in August 2023. Tanya Vea will be Bonneville’s new President and Chief Operating officer starting Aug. 1. Brown started as president of Bonneville in December of 2013. During his tenure helming the broadcast company, it acquired four stations […]

22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Utah Filmmaker Pleads Guilty Again To Sexually Abusing Child