Ex-principal pleads guilty to sexually abusing former student

Published: Tuesday, April 2 2013 4:15 p.m. MDT

In this file photo, Principal Charles Weber chats with fifth graders at the Soldier Hollow Charter School in Midway on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

HEBER CITY — A former charter school principal pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing a former male student.

Charles Edward Weber, 66, pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, in connection with the abuse of a 15-year-old boy. Four identical sodomy charges were dismissed in exchange for the man's plea. 

Weber, of South Jordan, was booked into the Washington County Jail on $1 million bail in December. The arrest came after he "admitted to sexually abusing several young boys over the past 35 years," FBI agent Jeffrey Ross wrote in a police affidavit filed in 4th District Court.

Weber had been an educator for more than 40 years, most recently as principal of the award-winning Soldier Hollow Charter School in Midway.

"We believe it was a just resolution to this case," Wasatch County Attorney Scott Sweat said.

Discussions about resolving the case had been going on for some time, he said. When asked if the victim had agreed to it, he said his office tries to keep victims informed of plea negotiations.

Police began investigating Weber after a 48-year-old man told FBI agents that between 1975 and 1977 he was sexually molested on several occasions by Weber, his elementary school teacher at the time. He said the abuse began when he was 11 years old and included fondling and sex acts, the affidavit states. He also said the incidents occurred in Utah and other states.

The agents then interviewed Weber, who told them he had been a teacher for more than 40 years and he admitted sexually abusing several boys over the past 35 years, the affidavit states. During the interview, police say he admitted sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy between January and April 2012. Investigators later learned the teen had been a student at the school where Weber was principal.

The boy told agents Weber sexually abused him earlier this year but said the abuse stopped shortly after his 16th birthday.

Weber was arrested in Washington County, where police believe he fled from his home in South Jordan after becoming aware of the investigation.

Soldier Hollow Charter School started in 1999 with an emphasis on the environment and the arts. It serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2011, while Weber was the school's principal, Soldier Hollow received the distinction of a blue ribbon school, a national honor given to public and private schools that excel year after year.

Weber told investigators he was fired from the school in August.

A sentencing hearing has been set for May 28. Sweat said Weber is being held in custody pending his sentencing.

E-mail: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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