FAILURE TO PROTECT

Police were warned rapist could reoffend 24 years ago. Now he’s charged again.

Feb 1, 2023, 9:24 PM | Updated: May 12, 2023, 5:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –  Christopher Lee Browning is accused of attacking a woman in her Taylorsville home on Jan. 18, the same day he walked away from a halfway house. New records obtained by the KSL Investigators reveal Browning had a lengthy history of sex offenses.

“He could re-offend”

A brutal attack against a Provo neighbor in 1998 sent him to prison for rape and burglary. Police investigating that crime dug deep into Browning’s past. Detectives discovered Browning had been convicted of raping a 40-year-old woman in Guam when he was just 14 years old. Information provided to police by youth psychiatric professionals noted Browning had also raped a 23-year-old ex-girlfriend and indicated that “he could re-offend.”

Parole Hearing Admission

In a 2018 parole board hearing, Browning disclosed additional sex offenses, including another rape he committed when he was 13 that he was never charged for. He counted that woman as one of four that he’d victimized without being caught.

20 years Without Treatment

In the same 2018 hearing, Browning also told the board that he hadn’t yet had the opportunity to complete his court-ordered sex offender therapy. Three years later, in another parole board hearing, he said he’d started but was removed from the program due to his actions.

“I did act out disorderly,” he told the board member at the time.

Browning’s release on parole was contingent on his completing that treatment program, which he did in March of 2022. He told the board shortly before his release that he learned a lot about himself in therapy.

“It let me know, like, where I’m going wrong or whether a situation should be engaged in or not,” he said. “It put me on a whole different path and it helped me change my behaviors.”

Disciplinary Action

New details about his time in prison came to light from recordings of Browning’s 2018 and 2021 parole board hearings. In addition to three previously reported assaults in 2019, 2021, and 2022, the KSL Investigators discovered that Browning was also disciplined while behind bars for abusing medication, intoxication and possession of an explosive incendiary device.

None of those incidents led to new criminal charges against Browning, and the Board of Pardons and Parole voted to approve his release. He left the Utah State Prison on Dec. 6, 2022, after serving 24 years of a five years to life sentence.

The board declined the KSL Investigators’ request for an interview but did send a statement, noting that Browning was kept in prison 18 years past the release date that was recommended by Utah’s sentencing guidelines.

The KSL Investigators have also requested an interview with the Utah Department of Corrections and will continue to push for answers and accountability.

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.

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Police were warned rapist could reoffend 24 years ago. Now he’s charged again.