Uintah County man faces 4th lewdness charge in 3 years

Published: Monday, April 23 2012 7:56 p.m. MDT

VERNAL — Prosecutors say they expect to charge a Uintah County man this week with lewdness for the fourth time in three years.

Cecil Blaine Ralphs, 68, was arrested April 16 after a neighbor reported that she saw him partially dressed in his backyard engaging in a lewd act, according to a report filed by Uintah County sheriff's deputy Nick Clough.

The woman told Clough she believed Ralphs had been trying to look into the windows of her home "from a distance." The woman said two hours later she spotted Ralphs on his back porch again engaging in a lewd act.

"(The woman) also informed me that she had taken pictures of the act on her cell phone," Clough wrote, adding that he viewed the photos and they corroborated the woman's allegations against Ralphs.

Clough arrested Ralphs and said he questioned him about the incident after informing him of his rights. Ralphs denied doing anything wrong.

Court records show that Ralphs has been convicted of lewdness three times in recent years. In September 2010, Ralphs pleaded no contest in Uintah County Justice Court to lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, for an incident that occurred in June 2009. He was also found guilty of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, in September 2010 following a bench trial for an incident that occurred in May 2010.

Ralphs' final conviction — this time for a third-degree felony count of lewdness — occurred in October. He was sentenced in January to serve zero to 5 years in prison, but the judge suspended the prison term. Instead he ordered Ralphs to serve 60 days in jail and three years on probation.

The jail sentence ended March 7. 

Prosecutor John Gothard said Monday that he intends to charge Ralphs with a felony for the incident that led to his April 16 arrest. Ralphs remains in the Uintah County Jail, where he is being held on a probation hold.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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