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Orem man accused of raping 11-year-old girl requests to withdraw guilty plea

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UTAH COUNTY -- An Orem man who pleaded guilty to sodomizing an 11-year-old girl tried to back out of the deal he struck with prosecutors, Monday.

Jayson Johnson, 27, was accused of kidnapping and raping the girl as she walked home from school in 2014. In September, Johnson accepted a plea agreement, requiring he admit to first-degree felony sodomy.

However, during Monday’s scheduled sentencing hearing, Johnson requested to withdraw his plea.

“She lost her innocence. She lost that sweet part of us that we are given at birth where we believe the best in each other,” said Andrew Christensen, the girl’s father.

The family had hoped to put the case behind them after the hearing, but they now may have a longer road ahead of them. A judge will decide whether or not to accept Johnson’s deal. If it is accepted, the case would go to trial.

“Should the judge allow this to go to trial my daughter will be ready to send him straight to the only place where he belongs,” Christensen said. “My daughter is the bravest soul I know.”

The decision to withdraw the plea was unexpected, according to Johnson’s attorney.

“That’s the first time he’s indicated that. So, I need to meet with him in prison to find out what his reasons are for that,” explained defense attorney, Greg Stewart.

The reasons mean little to Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, Ashlee Farabee, with whom he shares two children.

“I was expecting justice for that little girl,” Farabee said. “That’s why I was here.”

A decision from the court is expected in December.

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