She sought justice after years of feeling unsafe, but says the Utah County Attorney got in the way

Jan 4, 2022, 10:38 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – When she met with Utah County’s top law enforcer in 2020, a Utah woman says he pitched her an idea to bring an end to the harassment she endured for years after ending a brief relationship.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt planned to drop the stalking case against Mark Stewart Allen. But Allen, 59, of Lindon, would have to agree that a time limit on the filing of another criminal charge wouldn’t apply. Instead, he could face the felony at any point in the future if he didn’t shape up.

While Leavitt maintains the agreement was intended to help her while jury trials were on hold because of the pandemic, the woman alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that he had a conflict of interest: Leavitt had acknowledged in their meeting that decades earlier, the alleged aggressor was a Latter-day Saint mission companion of his brother, Eric.

“How is that not a conflict of interest?” said the woman. “The whole situation didn’t feel right.”

She is named in the lawsuit and chose to talk to KSL on camera, but did not want her name used in this story.

A Utah woman told KSL investigators Utah County Attorney David Leavitt had her case dismissed even though she says he had a conflict of interest.

She’s seeking a federal court order that would trigger the transfer of the case to a different prosecutor’s office, along with unspecified damages.

The woman recalled feeling uneasy after her meeting with Leavitt. While the prosecutor seemed to think the plan was in her best interest, she said she was concerned the behavior would continue without a meaningful penalty.

Her attorneys provided KSL an audio recording of her meeting with Leavitt that stretched on for more than an hour. It’s part of her lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Salt Lake City against the county attorney.

She expressed her misgivings shortly after the meeting, tapping out an email to Leavitt that said she wanted to see the offer in writing. But she found out after the fact that a 4th District judge in Provo approved the agreement and dismissed the case, she said.

Leavitt’s office didn’t tell her when the court hearing was going to happen, disregarding protections in Utah’s constitution, her lawsuit contends. And she believes her experience points to bias against women, violating the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

She contends Leavitt had directed one of his prosecutors to drop the criminal stalking case against Allen, after he allegedly showed up at her home, shared intimate pictures of her and emailed her even though she had a protective order against him.

When his employee resisted, Leavitt took over the case, the lawsuit states.

She said the man went on to harass her again. Prosecutors refiled the charge last year, and it’s still pending.

Leavitt denies he had a conflict, and said the renewed charge reflects his commitment to making sure the case is handled properly.

“The truth is, there’s nothing illegal or inappropriate about this,” he told KSL investigators.

Leavitt acknowledged he got involved in the case after meeting with a lawyer for Allen who sought to cast doubt on the woman’s version of events, and after Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith got in touch about the case. But Leavitt is ultimately responsible for all cases that pass through his office, he said, and routinely scrutinizes them when lawyers, police or others bring issues to his attention.

Allen’s defense attorney Dustin Parmley declined comment.

The woman’s attorneys allege in court papers that the defendant was a campaign donor and friend, but Leavitt said they’re not friends.

Campaign finance reports show Allen contributed $49.99 to Leavitt’s unsuccessful 2020 campaign for Utah Attorney General.

“We can’t be bought,” Leavitt added.  “We can’t be influenced in inappropriate ways.”

He said the agreement had simply allowed her to have a measure of accountability while the criminal justice system was largely paused.

“This defendant is going to continue to harass you until you’re at trial, and now that your trial has been postponed, you’re going to have years of this,” he recalled telling her. “You’re better off, if you’ll consent to this, that you’ll dismiss the charge.”

In an apparent effort to address her concerns during their meeting, she contends, Leavitt recalled that while Juab County Attorney, he prosecuted neighbors, along with a church leader in his own Latter-day Saint ward – demonstrating a pattern of conflicts, according to her attorneys.

A Republican who took office in 2019, Leavitt has faced criticism in the past for dismantling his office’s special victims unit focused on prosecuting crimes against children and other vulnerable Utahns.

Leavitt said he’s brought in a team of researchers to review sexual assault cases the office has handled over the last 10 years and is taking steps to reduce bias in charging decisions. He views the allegations in this lawsuit as a politically motivated attack, he said, in part informed by the views of former prosecutors who left his office over their frustrations with his policies.

The woman’s lawyer, Michael Young, rejected the notion.

“Refusal to prioritize the safety of stalking victims is a breach of public trust and a fundamental failure for one holding public office,” he said.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you. 

KSL Investigates

Lynzee Delapaz explains to KSL’s Matt Gephardt how her car was damaged when it collided with anot...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Who’s legally responsible for damage when cars collide in a car wash?

A Grantsville woman’s car was damaged inside a car wash when the vehicle ahead of her went off the tracks. So, who pays for the damage?

18 hours ago

Matt Gephardt speaking to Thelissa Mead about Hyundai not responding to her claims and getting her ...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Utah Hyundai owner seeking reimbursement for overestimated fuel economy

A major automaker was accused of saying their cars get better mileage than they really do, And they promised to pay their customers back. But when one Utah customer wasn't, she decided to Get Gephardt.

5 days ago

Candidates for the Republican primary's Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in a televised debate a...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking GOP candidates in race for Utah’s open US House seat

The KSL Investigators looked into claims from five Republican candidates vying to replace Rep. John Curtis in the U.S. House of Representatives.

5 days ago


Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from GOP candidates for Utah governor

The KSL Investigators fact-check a range of statements from Utah's GOP gubernatorial candidates.

6 days ago

A debate for Republican candidates vying for Utah’s open U.S. Senate seat ended with a heated exc...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from tense end to Utah GOP Senate debate

Utah’s Republican U.S. Senate primary debate ended with one candidate seemingly implying wrongdoing by another. The KSL Investigators put that claim through the KSL Truth Test.

7 days ago

Four Utah Republicans competing to replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney in the U.S. Senate squared off...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from Utah GOP candidates fighting to replace Romney

The KSL Investigators put claims from Republican candidates for U.S. Senate through the KSL Truth Test. Here are the facts, context and details you’ll need to get a better picture of the issues.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

She sought justice after years of feeling unsafe, but says the Utah County Attorney got in the way