Judge allows 'father of Mormon cinema' Richard Dutcher back into his Salt Lake house
Keith Johnson, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Part of a restraining order was lifted Tuesday against the so-called "father of Mormon cinema."
A judge ruled that Richard Dutcher, 49, could move back into the Salt Lake house that he shared with a woman who filed a protective order against him on Oct. 22. But other than being allowed back in his house, the remainder of the restraining order is still intact pending his next scheduled court hearing.
"We feel very good about what happened today. We feel so far Mr. Dutcher has been vindicated. And we feel next week when we come back he'll be fully vindicated of these false allegations in what is a completely fabricated story," his attorney, Morgan Philpot, said outside of court Tuesday.
Dutcher, who gained notoriety for making the LDS missionary-themed movies "God's Army" and "States of Grace," as well as "Brigham City" and other films before leaving the Church in 2007, had been living with a 37-year-old woman for about a year. In August, they moved into a home in Salt Lake City.
On Oct. 22, the woman filed a restraining order against Dutcher. Outside of court Tuesday, neither side commented on what prompted the ex-parte order to be filed.
Dutcher, however, said in a prepared statement that he never physically assaulted the woman.
"I do feel the need to state publicly that I have never hit a woman, choked a woman, never kicked a woman, certainly never sexually abused a woman. So these are very painful and worrisome allegations. But I am grateful for how things worked out today, that at least I am able to return to my residence," he said.
In making her decision, the judge noted that Dutcher's name was on the lease, he was the one paying the mortgage and the woman was currently unemployed. She noted that Dutcher had stated his office, including his entire film history, was inside the house.
Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan said five police reports have been filed involving Dutcher since Oct. 20. Two of them were filed by Dutcher himself. But all of the incidents were "non-criminal," he said. All of the incidents involved "civil matters."
Philpot declined to talk about the specifics of the allegations, but noted: "We expect there will no criminal charges filed. And if there are criminal charges filed, they will be against the other party in this case.
"This should give you a good indicator how we feel about the case. He's back in the residence because the court found he should not have been removed in the first place. Very good sign for us," Philpot said.
Philpot said he expected to talk more about the allegations after the next scheduled hearing, set for Nov. 12 to address the rest of the restraining order.
"The past few days I've been thinking a lot about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. And what I've been thinking is knowing how it all turned out, if Scott Fitzgerald would have gone back and done it again. I've decided that in retrospect, on the night of their first meeting he would have gone running screaming in the opposite direction," Dutcher said, referring to the tempestuous marriage of the American novelists.
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