Teens who originally submitted ‘denial’ or ‘not guilty’ pleas to sex abuse of other students admit guilt

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah — In October 2018, three male high school students from Gunnison were brought before a judge on charges of forcible sexual abuse against multiple victims.

At the time, all three defendants entered a “denial,” which is equivalent to a “not guilty” plea in adult court.

Now, Deputy Sanpete County Attorney Wes Mangum said the investigation into the allegations found one of the boys had been involved in at least eight separate incidents of forcible sexual abuse with both male and female victims.

Mangum said the boy admitted to eight counts of forcible sexual abuse Tuesday. According to Mangum, the two other boys involved in the investigation had already admitted to forcible sexual abuse tied to an incident they described as “hazing.”

Mangum told FOX 13 the incident went far beyond hazing, and that it “crossed that line” by a long way.

According to Mangum, juvenile probation officials are now going over all the cases and will determine what fines, community services or detention will be meted out.

He added that while juvenile records are sealed and typically can be expunged, or essentially erased, serious crimes like these cannot be expunged and will be on the boys’ records as adults.

Mangum told FOX 13 this case has been hard on the people of Gunnison, a town with a population of roughly 3,500 people. However, now that the perpetrators have been dealt with in the legal system, he thinks the town will be able to move on.

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