Bountiful man speaks out after dismissal of child sex abuse charges
Matt Gade, Deseret News
MURRAY — A day after charges were dismissed alleging Steven Dale Green sexually abused a girl his family had sought to help, the 42-year-old Bountiful man isn't celebrating.
"When they told me the charges were being dismissed, I thought at that point it would be much more of an elated feeling," Green said Wednesday at the office of his attorney, wringing a packet of court documents in his hands. "I thought I would be happy, but part of me was angry, part of me wanted to cry, part of me wanted to throw up. It still doesn't feel real."
Green was charged in February 2013 with 13 first-degree felonies, beginning a year of grueling interviews and hearings, the loss of his job, crumbling relationships with friends and neighbors, family stress, escalating legal fees and public condemnation.
Those charges were dismissed Tuesday.
Green says the claims against him — which detailed an intense, sexual relationship with the girl starting when she was 13 and spanning two years — were all fabricated by the teen to cover her own indiscretions.
"We had presented a mountain of exculpatory evidence," he said. "Some of the statements she made in that preliminary hearing were so outrageous I couldn't believe people were taking them seriously."
When asked whether all charges were dropped because of doubt about the girl's story, prosecutor Cristina Ortega responded with a firm and simple, "No."
Ortega maintains the case was dismissed because new evidence surfaced through pretrial hearings indicating the prosecution might not be successful in a trial.
"Whether or not the witness is lying, that's not the issue here," she said. "It's the evidence that would have come forward at trial that I think would have affected the ability to get a conviction at trial."
Green said he and his family met the girl, whom he called "a troubled kid," when his daughter befriended her. Over about two years, the girl was in and out of the Green home weekly as they helped her get her grades up, invited her to family gatherings and cheered her on as she participated with Green's soccer team, he said.
Green said the family cut ties with the girl, now 18, when she got into self-destructive behaviors and engaged in sexual relationships with partners of both genders. She has now moved out of state.
In all that time, Green insists he was never alone with his accuser, having discussed the situation with his wife when they first agreed to help the girl.
"We obeyed all the rules. We were never alone. We did everything you're supposed to do, and this still happened," he said.
When charges were filed and a team of officers arrived to arrest Green during his morning workout last year, he was baffled. When they instructed him not to talk to any witnesses in the case because of concern about witness tampering, he was even more confused, he said.
"The first thing that goes through your head is, 'How do I know who not to talk to if I don't even know what I'm here for?'" Green said.
The Greens and their lawyer, Greg Law, launched their own investigation. They ordered a polygraph test, which Green passed. They acquired the girl's school attendance records, which contradicted allegations she had skipped school for romantic interludes, he said.
Travel records indicated Green wasn't in Utah at the time of some of the alleged encounters, he said.
They attempted to refute claims that Green drove his BMW through the snow to the "B" above the hills of Bountiful one January night for sex, and to prove that he and the girl couldn't have fit in the small car's back seat, as she had described it.
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