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

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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

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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

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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.

18 Year old Arrested for Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

An 18 year old Ogden Utah teen was arrested and booked into Elko County Jail in Nevada for having sexual activity with a minor under 14 years old.

Teen younger than 14 years old

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18 year old Nathanial Sweat of Ogden was arrested and detained by Elko County Sherriff’s Office in Nevada after the mother of a 14 year old West Wendover girl discovered the two teens were dating and had been intimate on at least one occasion. Although the younger teen involved was 14 when her mom discovered the relationship between the two, the sexual activity presumably took place when the teen was younger than 14 years old as Sweat severe consequences under Nevada Law. According to Nevada Statute 201.230, an 18 year old having sexual relations with a 14 year old is considered a category B felony and is punishable by one to 10 years in prison. If an 18 year old has sexual relations with a teen younger than 14 years old, it is considered a category A felony “and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served . . . “

Utah law

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Utah law differs greatly from Nevada regarding sexual relations with a teen who is 14 or 15 and there is also added leniency depending on the age gap of the two involved. Utah Code 76-5-401 states explains that if an adult commits unlawful sexual activity with a minor who is 14 years old , they will face a third degree felony which is punishable in the state of Utah with up to five years in prison. That statute notes however, that if “the defendant is less than four years older than the minor at the time the sexual activity occurred, the offense is a class B misdemeanor” which is punishable by up 6 months in jail at the most. Now if the minor is younger than 14, say 13 and a half, just as with Nevada law, that charge quickly escalates. In Utah it is considered rape of a child. According to Utah Code 76-5-402.1, there may still be some leniency for adult teenagers however. “If:

Photo by: Ben Phillips

i. It is a first time offense for the defendant . . . ;
ii. The defendant was younger than 21 years of age at the time of the offense; and
iii. The court finds that a lesser term . . . is in the interests of justice . . . “

With these considerations, “the court may impose a term of imprisonment of not less than;

i. 15 years and while may be for life;
ii. 10 years and which may be for life; or
iii. Six years and which may be for life.”

Prepare for adulthood, learn the law

Teens who have barely graduated to being an “adult” may be stunned at some of the things that can land them in jail. Even more surprising are how the laws can differ greatly with the age of those involved or where the crimes take place. For any questions regarding Utah law and how it applies to teens or “teen adults”, contact a defense attorney that handles both juvenile as well as adult cases.

Unlawful Sexual Activity among Teens

Teens who engage in sexual relations with other teens may feel they are legal to do so as long as both parties consent, however sometimes their relations are considered unlawful sexual activity.

Too young for consent

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Unlawful sexual activity among teens does not include instances or rape, sodomy or sexual abuse that carries severe penalties for the offender. Unlawful adolescent sexual activity are sexual relations where both parties give consent yet one or more parties are not at an age old enough for consent. According to the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, “teens and youth of a certain age range CANNOT consent to sexual activities. Even if a youth gave consent, they are not permitted by law to do so in certain circumstances – and anyone having sexual contact with them could face criminal charges. This rule still applies even if the contact was by a teen or youth with another teenager or youth.” So how young is too young for teens to engage in sexual activity and what are the punishments?

Felony charges

Unlawful sexual activity among teens is considered a felony if there is a major age difference between the consenting teens involved. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, teens face third degree felony charges if they are:

• 17 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen 12 or 13 years old, a four to five year age difference;
• 16 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 12 years old, a four year age difference.

Close in age, still against the law

The closer in age the teens who are involved, the less severe the punishments. This law varies slightly if the younger of the teens is a 12 or 13 year old who has barely reached adolescence. Statute 76-5-401.3 states, teens face class A misdemeanor charges if they are:

• 16 years old engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 13 years old, a three year age difference; or
• 14 to 15 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a 12 year old, a two to three year age difference.
Teens may be charged with class B misdemeanor if they are:
• 17 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen who is 14 years old, a three year age difference;
• 15 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen 13 years old, a two year age difference.

Even teens who are really close in age or the same age face charges for having sexual relations. The punishment is a class C misdemeanor if the teen is:

• 14 years old and engaging in sexual activity with a teen who is 12 to 13 years old, a one to two year age difference ; and also
• 12 or 13 and engaging in sexual activity with another teen who is 12 or 13, the same exact age.

Almost adults

The laws regarding sexual activity among teens changes once the younger party involved reaches the age of 16 or 17 years of age. 16 and 17 year old do not face charges for sexual relations with other teens their same age. If the other party is an adult, it may still be legal depending on the age difference. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 explains that “a person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a [16 or 17 year old] if [the person] is:

• seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor (…) and the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor;
• 10 or more years older than the minor (…); or
• Holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer (…)”.

This statute goes on to note sexual conduct includes any sexual act, inappropriate touching, or indecent liberties with the minor. Charges for the adult involved range from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

Not just old fashioned thinking

Teens who wish to engage in sexual activity should be warned that refraining from such is not just old fashioned thinking, it is the law. Those who face charges for unlawful sexual conduct should consult with a juvenile defense attorney.