Vernal man jailed for 5th lewdness incident since 2009

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22 2014 8:40 p.m. MST

VERNAL — Uintah County sheriff's deputies have arrested a Vernal man for investigation of lewdness for the fifth time since 2009.

Cecil Blaine Ralphs, 70, was booked into jail Friday night, according to Uintah County Sheriff's Cpl. Brian Fletcher.

Deputies were sent to Ralphs' home after a witness observed him performing a lewd act while standing in a vacant lot near his home, Fletcher said. The witness told deputies Ralphs was standing up, facing her as he performed the act on himself, the corporal said.

"The witness to the incident was able to catch the act by using a cellphone camera," Fletcher said.

Court records show Ralphs has been convicted of lewdness three times in recent years. In September 2010, he 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 2011. He was sentenced in January 2012 to serve zero to five 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.

Four months later, Ralphs was charged again with lewdness, a third-degree felony. A neighbor told deputies she saw Ralphs partially dressed in his backyard, engaging in a lewd act and provided them with cellphone photos of the incident, according to a sheriff's office report.

Court records show Ralphs was acquitted of the charge by a jury of four men and four women in March 2013.

Ralphs remains in the Uintah County Jail following Friday night's arrest. He is being held without bail.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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