Utah Church Leader Faces Charges for Sexual Abuse of A Teen

A leader of a Utah church group was arrested for sexual abuse of a teen after a young woman came forward with information regarding an incident that occurred seven years ago.

Sexual abuse

A 20 year old Utah woman told authorities that her church leader had non-consensual sexual relations with her when she was 13 years old. Jefferson Cuong Quoc Ngo, who at the time was 18 years old, was arrest on multiple charges including sexual abuse of a child.

Age difference

When a 25 year old is arrested for engaging in sexual activity with a minor, there is no reason to wonder why the perpetrator got in trouble. When an older teen or young adult is arrested for sexual relations with a minor, many may wonder exactly what the laws are regarding such instances. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, 12 to 13 year old are not considered old enough by Utah law to engage in sexual activity. Older teens that choose to carry on a sexual relationship with a young teen or “tween” may face felony charges of unlawful adolescent sexual activity while young adults could receive more severe child sexual abuse charges. Once a teen is 16 or 17, they are considered more capable of making decisions regarding their sexual activity, and their sexual partner can be an adult as long as the age difference is not too great.

Non-consensual sexual encounter

Regardless of the ages of the individuals involved, no sexual activity may take place if one of the parties does not consent to it. According to the victim in the case, she did not want to engage in sexual activity with Ngo but was made to believe the encounter was okay because she thought they were a couple. Due to her young age at the time, she was too immature to understand the adult situation she was in and what her rights were. Ngo is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor for his illegal conduct. For more information on legal age of consent in Utah or for questions related to sexual abuse charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Sexual Assault Charges for Utah Teen Who Took Hazing Too Far

A Gunnison, Utah teen was charged with multiple charges of sexual assault after a hazing incident was taken too far.

Sexual assault by team member

Photo by: Mike Dupris

Many youth that join high school sports teams will experience a little bit of hazing. While some incidents are innocently done as a fun way to welcome new members to the team, others cross a line and can result in criminal charges for those responsible. Mid-September, a 15 year old freshmen student at Gunnison High School alerted the high school resource officer to a hazing incident that involved the male juvenile being held down and sexually assaulted by a sophomore following football practice. After the boy came forward to authorities, other victims soon followed suit and the 16 year old sophomore was arrested for six first degree felonies as well as five second degree felonies related to the sexual abuse.

Harmful hazing

While the student charged with sexual abuse obviously crossed the line from innocent hazing to criminal activity, other hazing rituals may also be against the law as well. Utah Code 76-5-107.5 states “A person is guilty of hazing if that person [knowing the activity is for those to be or remain a member of any organization] intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly commits an act or causes another to commit an act that:

(a) i. endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another;

ii. involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

iii. involves consumption of any food, alcoholic product, drug, or other substance or any other physical activity that endangers the mental or physical health and safety of an individual; or

iv. Involves any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, extended isolation from social contact, or conduct that subjects another to extreme embarrassment, shame or humiliation”.

Criminal Penalties

Depending on the severity of the hazing and what weapons of illicit materials are used, hazing may be punished ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. Any teens facing charges for their involvement of criminal hazing are encouraged to seek the legal counsel of a reputable juvenile defense attorney.

19 Year old From Southern Utah Facing Nine Felonies for Sexual Abuse of Tweens

A 19 year old from southern Utah was arrested on multiple charges including nine felonies after two tweens came forward claiming to be victims of sexual abuse.

Consensual…and not

Photo by: AK Rockefeller

19 year old Kaden Luwayne Barber was arrested in St. George Friday after two 13 year old girls came forward claiming Barber had sexually abused them. One of the tweens told police she and Barber had exchanged inappropriate messages with each other and had engaged in sexual relations. According to reports, that sexual activity did not take place against her will. The other 13 year old told investigators that Barber had sexually abused her while at his home and that he continued after she asked him not to.

Not of consent age

While Barber is facing charges for taking indecent liberties with one of the 13 year old against her will, he is also facing criminal charges for his sexual activity with the other tween with who the sexual activity was “consensual”. The reason for this is that a 13 year old is not considered old enough by Utah law to give consent for sex. Utah considers all minors under the age of 16 to be too young to consent to any sexual activity. Any teen or adult involved in sexual activity with a minor under the age of 16 will face criminal charges. Once a teen is 16, they and the other party will not face charges as long as the age difference isn’t greater than seven to 10 years, depending on the older person’s knowledge of their age.

Sexual abuse felonies

Photo by: Rae Allen

Barber’s sexual abuse of the two tweens is likely to result in him spending several years behind bars. The 19 year old is facing three class B misdemeanors as well as:

• Two counts of dealing in harmful material to a minor, each a third degree felony;
• Two second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor for producing, distributing, possessing child pornography (exchanging nudes);
• Three second degree felonies for sexual abuse of a child or inappropriate touching of a child under the age of 14;
Aggravated sexual abuse of a child for touching and penetration of genitalia (not amounting to rape) “. . . by force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, or threat of harm”, a first degree felony;
• One first degree felony for rape of a child for having “sexual intercourse with a child who was under the age of 14 years at the time of the offense” according to Section 76-5-402.1.

For legal counsel related to sex offense charges or for more information on the age of legal consent in Utah, consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney. For minors facing similar charges, consult an attorney that also handles cases in juvenile court.

Romeo and Juliet Laws in Utah

Older teens who are sexually involved with others near their own age may not have to worry about legal repercussions thanks to Utah’s Romeo and Juliet laws.

Romeo and Juliet laws

Photo by: Rob Zand

Romeo and Juliet laws are in place nationwide to protect teens and young adults from criminal charges for engaging in sexual activity with others. These laws vary depending on how old each person involved is along with the differences between the ages of the two parties. The state of Utah’s consensual sex laws may differ from neighboring states, therefore it is essential for teens and young adults to understand the laws of the states where they live or frequent to ensure their sexual activity is not considered a crime.

Consensual sexual activity

In the state of Utah, if two individuals engage in sexual activity where at least one party is a minor, there may be no legal issues as long as the encounter is consensual. There are some instances where regardless of whether or not both parties concede to the activity, it may be against the law.

When one or both parties are too young. Utah Code 76-5-401.3 explains that “unlawful adolescent sexual activity is punishable as a . . . Class C misdemeanor if an adolescent who is 12 or 13 years of age engages in unlawful adolescent sexual activity with an adolescent who is 12 or 13 years of age [or] . . . if an adolescent who is 14 years of age engages in unlawful adolescent sexual activity with an adolescent who is 13 years of age.”

When there is a significant age difference. That same statue warns that older teens who engage in sexual activity with a younger teen will face more severe penalties than teens closer to the same age. For instance, if a 17 year old engages in sexual activity with a 14 year old, they may face a class B misdemeanor. If the younger party is 12 or 13 year old, the older teen may face third degree felony charges.

When one individual involved is an adult. Once a teen is 16 or 17 years old, they are considered more capable of making decisions regarding sexual activity, even if the individual to whom they are engaging in the activity with is an adult. There is an age limit to this law however. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 notes that sexual activity with a 16 or a 17 year old is against the law if the adult involved is “seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor . . . and the individual knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor; or 10 or more years older than the minor”.

For more information on Romeo and Juliet consensual sex laws in Utah or for legal help regarding charges related to these laws, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Felony Charges for Utah Teen Who Viewed and Reposted Child Pornography Found Online

An 18 year old Utah teen has been charged with felony sexual exploitation of a minor after he views and reposted multiple images of child pornography that he found online.

Viewed and shared

r. nail bradshaw

18 year old Isaiah Weaver of Eagle Mountain, Utah was arrested after authorities discovered the teen had posted pornographic pictures of children on the popular platform Tumblr. Weaver was not the one responsible for producing the illegal pictures or even posting them online originally. According to police, Weaver came across the pictures and after viewing them, he reposted them on his account so he could find them again easily. He now faces two second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor.

Sexual exploitation of a minor

Utah Code

states: “A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor:

(a) When the person:
(i) Knowingly produces, possesses, or possesses with intent to distribute child pornography; or
(ii) Intentionally distributes or views child pornography; . . .

Sexual exploitation of a minor is a second degree felony [and] it is a separate offense . . . for each minor depicted in the child pornography; and for each time the same minor is depicted in different child pornography.” 18 year old Weaver faces two second felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor, each punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

No filters and unwise choices

With easy, often unfiltered access to the internet available 24/7, many teens are likely to stumble across pornographic material including those depicting children. While accidental viewing of such material will not land a young man like Weaver in prison, intentionally viewing and even privately saving the illegal images is punishable by Utah Law. For more information on child pornography charges or other legal issues that may arise from internet use, contact a criminal or juvenile defense attorney.