A follow-up investigation was done as a result of her testimony, and, after further investigation (and) the information we received from following up, we didn't feel there was a likelihood of conviction. —Prosecutor Cristina Ortega
FARMINGTON — All charges were dismissed Tuesday against a Bountiful man who was originally ordered to stand trial on felony charges stemming from sex abuse allegations.
Steven Dale Green, 42, was facing 13 first-degree felony charges, including rape and aggravated sexual abuse of a child, in connection with allegations made by a girl he briefly coached in soccer. At a hearing in 2nd District Court Tuesday, prosecutor Cristina Ortega asked that the charges be dismissed.
"I think justice was served," Green's attorney, Greg Law, said. "There was really no validity to the claims the victim was making."
In a phone interview following the hearing, Ortega cited "evidentiary issues" in making the decision to drop the charges.
"A follow-up investigation was done as a result of her testimony, and, after further investigation (and) the information we received from following up, we didn't feel there was a likelihood of conviction," Ortega said.
At a preliminary hearing in July, the girl said she was 12 when she met Green when trying out for a soccer team he coached. She said she eventually began to see the man as a father figure, though she also testified that she had a "crush" on Green and that things turned sexual in 2008, when she was 13.
She said the sexual activity continued until 2011, when she was 15 and wanted to pursue relationships with people her own age. The girl said she went to police after telling a grandparent and then her mother about the encounters.
Law said that once the girl testified at that hearing, they were able to do some investigating that revealed both physical evidence and "significant conflicting versions of her testimony" that proved Green's innocence.
"It was obvious the complaining witness never had intimate relationship with my client," Law said.
The attorney said Green had always maintained that there had not been any inappropriate contact and that the girl was simply someone he coached for one year and was friends with his stepdaughter.
Law said he felt a dismissal was preferable to taking the case to trial, because it would save Green the expense and keep the "court of public opinion" from thinking an acquittal was more due to attorney skill than true innocence.
"We took a very proactive approach in getting this dismissed before it went to trial," Law said. "I'm very happy. My client is thrilled, and, hopefully, he can work on repairing fractures in his personal life and in his professional life."
Law said Green lost his job when he was arrested in February 2013. He worked for almost three months to find another job, which was "teetering on the edge" following news reports about the preliminary hearing. Green's marriage survived but not without difficulty.
"They weathered the storm, but you take 14 months of this and that's going to take a toll on his personal life," Law said. "With the news of his dismissal, that's going to get him on better footing (personally and professionally)."
Ortega said she informed the girl's mother of the decision to dismiss the case.
Law said he doesn't think his client will pursue any kind of legal action against the girl, who is now 18.
"I think he would like to fall out of the spotlight," Law said, noting that the state did the "right thing" in dropping the charges once they got the additional information. "I think he would like to try and rebuild what happened between him and his wife and move on."