On Feb. 9, David F. Owens, of Ferron was charged in the Seventh District Court in Castle Dale with four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, each a first degree felony. Owens is a retired captain from the Emery County Sheriff's Office. He was charged following an investigation by the Utah State Bureau of Investigations. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in Emery County between 1997 and 2007. Owens is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m. in Seventh District Court in Castle Dale. Owens has been booked and released from the Emery County jail. Owens retired from the sheriff's office in October of 2000. He is 74 years old. Allegedly there is more than one victim involved in this case and the four counts would be indicative of four different potential victims in the case.
Deputy County Attorney Brent Langston is the prosecutor for this case, he was unable to make substantial comments but he did say that the nature of the charges indicate the victims were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged abuse which accounts for the aggravated sexual abuse first degree felony charges.
If convicted, these charges carry a minimum mandatory sentence in prison which means the court must impose a prison sentence.
Langston said the charges are for abuse which dates back as far in the past as 1997 which would indicate a three year period of time in which the defendant was an employee of the Emery County Sheriff's Office. Langston indicated the county attorney's office is not aware of any information that the alleged abuse was known during the time the defendant was employed as a police officer. The charges are a result of a recent investigation that was conducted by the Utah State Bureau of Investigations because of the defendant's past employment by the sheriff's office.
The investigation into the sexual abuse came as a result of a report taken which indicated alleged abuse. Langston said from this initial report and the subsequent investigation other victims did come forward. Langston said this is not unusual in an abuse case for a victim not to come forward at the time of the abuse.
At the court appearance on Feb. 15, Owens will make a first appearance. This is an initial appearance in front of the judge where the charges will be read to the defendant. The defendant will be advised of his right to an attorney. The defendant may bring an attorney to the initial appearance if they choose. An arrest was not made in this case, but Owens was summoned to court.
Langston said, "My main focus is on the victims. The sooner this is taken care of then the better for them. We will proceed with our case after Tuesday's initial appearance and a preliminary hearing may be set at that time. We will look at all of the circumstances. This is just a tragedy all the way around."