CRIME

Self-declared state employee charged after allegedly grabbing teen girl in public

Apr 26, 2024, 11:59 AM | Updated: May 6, 2024, 11:53 am

ST. GEORGE — A Washington County woman claiming to work for the state of Utah has been charged with sexual battery after being accused of inappropriately grabbing a teen girl in public.

St. George police explained Thursday that the woman told an officer she didn’t like what the 19-year-old girl was wearing at a restaurant and “had to take action.”

A video posted to social media that KSL TV obtained with permission appears to show the heated confrontation between the woman and a group of young women in the lobby of a crowded St. George restaurant last weekend.

According to court documents, the woman came up to a 19-year-old from behind. The 19-year-old told police that she suddenly felt cold hands up her skirt touching her and someone pulling her skirt down.

“She went up behind the 19-year-old and pulled her skirt down, telling her that she shouldn’t have her butt hanging out,” said officer Tiffany Mitchell with the St. George Police Department.

As the situation escalated, the woman was seen in the video pulling out an ID or badge and showing it to the group of girls. “I happen to work for the state, and if I have to watch your a** cheeks hanging out again, I will call CPS,” the woman said.

Charging documents state that the woman, identified as Ida Lorenzo, contacted police after the incident to report that the video was posted on social media and that she was being harassed.

“In her interview with the officer, she does confirm that she does work for the state,” Mitchell said.

Court documents state Lorenzo explained to an officer that she thought the girl in the skirt was under 18 and wearing what Lorenzo considered to be “explicit” clothing while there was a 10-year-old child not related to Lorenzo also sitting in the lobby.

“She believed that her genitalia and her buttocks were hanging out below her skirt,” Mitchell said.

Lorenzo told police, according to documents, that she didn’t touch the victim but did grab her skirt.

“Ida believed that (the victim) was a minor, and felt that she needed to intervene. I explained to Ida that the belief the victim was a minor, should have been more reason to not touch the victim,” the investigator wrote.

Police interviewed Lorenzo, the victim, and more than half a dozen witnesses. The victim reported feeling “startled by the encounter, and violated,” and explained a friend posted the video to social media to try and identify the attacker and file a report.

“No one should ever go up and put hands on someone else based on their disagreement with what they’re wearing,” Mitchell said.

The investigator wrote that the witness provided the video and a photo confirming that it was impossible for her to be exposed in her outfit.

“I informed Ida that the victim provided evidence to suggest she was not lude in public, and that vaginal exposure had never been mentioned during the time of the incident,” the investigator wrote, in the charging document.

The investigation turned back on the 48-year-old, leading to Lorenzo’s arrest Wednesday and a charge from the Washington County Attorney for sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.

“She didn’t have the right to go up there and pull that female’s skirt down,” Mitchell said. “And the fact that she holds a position that she has, she should probably have known better not to do that.”

KSL TV was given information that Lorenzo may be an employee at the Utah Attorney General’s Office. The Utah Attorney General’s Office wouldn’t confirm Lorenzo’s employment but did provide this statement: “The AG’s office is aware of the alleged incident and is addressing the situation.”

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Self-declared state employee charged after allegedly grabbing teen girl in public