KSL Investigates: Repeat Offender Highlights Limits To Utah’s Stalking Law
FARMINGTON, Utah — The criminal history of one Utah man points to the limitations of Utah’s stalking laws. One Utah lawmaker hopes to change that during the next legislative session.
Chad Dee Flitton, 43, has been convicted of stalking, lewdness and sexual battery against teens, girls and women around the state.
Despite behavior that has traumatized many victims, Flitton’s misdemeanor offenses rarely landed him in jail for long, as highlighted in a KSL investigation.
Trail of Victims
Concerned that Flitton’s behavior is escalating, a trail of victims said they want more to be done to put a stop to his crimes.
“I feel like I had more damage done to me than he’s had done to him,” said Marlie Pali. “It makes me sick to even be around younger girls knowing that they could be someone’s victim someday. Because there are people out there like Chad all over.”
Pali was the victim of sexual battery in 2015 at the hands of Flitton. He was convicted in the case, but it took nearly three years before he received his sentence.
“We often feel like the law is there to protect us, and in this situation, it feels like the law is protecting him,” said Nikki Weekes.
Weekes obtained a civil stalking injunction against him in an effort to protect her and her family, alleging Flitton came to her Layton home, demanded to see her teenage daughter and had been standing outside the girl’s window at night.
“This sort of pattern, this boldness, these actions, we’ve all seen the movies,” Weekes said. “We’ve all read the books. We’ve watched the news stories. These things don’t end well.”
“There has to be a change in the system,” said Flitton’s ex-wife April Giauque.
Giauque was married to Flitton for 10 years. She left the state with their five children because she said she feared for their safety.
Flitton’s victims aren’t the only ones frustrated with the process and want more to be done to deter his crimes.
Utah Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has been following Flitton’s case for years.
“As a father, you do it once to my daughter and you’re going to be removed from the gene pool from that point,” Ray said. “You have these, you know, teenage girls – 13 to 14-year-old girls who may be, for the rest of their life, looking over their shoulders.”
Utah’s Stalking Law
Flitton has been in and out of county courtrooms and jail cells, ordered to complete treatment and placed on probation repeatedly for allegedly stalking multiple young women.
Numerous police and Adult Probation & Parole violation reports document the allegations, but he only has one stalking conviction on his record.
It’s shocking, until you hear Layton City prosecutor Steve Garside’s explanation.
“It’s the same behavior,” Garside said. “He’s going up to these people – same age group, same gender, making similar comments. Why isn’t this stalking? Well, the stalking statute says, you know, more than one incident directed at a specific individual. And obviously, this is not a specific individual, because it has happened numerous times to different people.”
That’s where Ray comes in.
“We’re talking about safety of kids. They’re the most vulnerable population and so to me, this is really important as a legislator,” Ray said. “There’s certain things we really have to do [as a legislature], and to me, that’s one of them.”
Ray is drafting legislation that would change Utah’s stalking law and allow for groups or profiles of specific types of people to fall within the law’s parameters.
“Looking at maybe a defined age or gender group, you know, young teenage females or young teenage males, whatever it may be, that if you’re stalking that group of people, then we can still come after you,” Ray said.
It’s a change that could affect offenders like Flitton if his pattern of behavior doesn’t change. It’s also a change that will likely result in the prosecution of other offenders who don’t focus on a specific individual.
“We think we can craft a law that will catch up with Chad [Flitton], but at the same time we’re not crossing the line and writing the law for one person because this is a problem across the state,” Ray said.
The Davis County lawmaker knows his proposed legislation will likely be controversial. Ray said he hopes to have a finished draft by the fall so discussions and debate can start long before the next legislative session begins.
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