SPANISH FORK — An employee with a group home has been charged with sexually abusing two 14-year-old girls who were being housed there.
Wade Russell, 59, was charged Thursday in 4th District Court with two counts of forcible sodomy, first-degree felonies; six counts of forcible sexual abuse, second-degree felonies; and one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony.
Russell worked for Extended Family Services, which houses troubled teens who are in the custody of the state, according to court documents.
One of the 14-year-old girls, who had arrived at the center three days earlier, told a state case worker that Russell inappropriately touched her and another 14-year-old girl on Nov. 4 at the center, court documents state.
The girl reported that Russell entered her room at night and laid on the floor by her bed and fondled her over her clothing, according to court documents.
In a separate interview, the second 14-year-old girl reported that Russell had touched her sexually on several occasions and showed her pornography on his phone since she arrived at the group home in June, charges state.
During one incident in her bedroom, the girl said Russell instructed her to change her pajama pants for a skirt to make the process easier, which she did, according to court documents.
On Nov. 2, the girl said Russell instructed her to meet him in the laundry room and turn out the lights to avoid detection on a security. Security cameras captured Russell entering the girls' rooms and the laundry room with them, court documents state.
Extended Family Services management told police they had met with Russell in August and instructed him not to hug the girls, be alone with them or take them out of view of the security cameras.1 comment on this story
He was specifically warned against being alone with the second 14-year-old, who had reportedly had previous sexual relationships with older men.
Russell denied accusations that he had inappropriately touched the girls, but told police that being alone with them was poor judgement and "stupid," court documents state. When asked about the pornographic materials on his phone, Russell said he had lost it.
A search of court records revealed Russell has no criminal history in Utah.