SPANISH FORK — A former employee at a group home for troubled teens pleaded no contest Thursday to multiple counts of abusing a 14-year-old girl.

Wade Russell, 60, pleaded no contest to 12 counts of forcible sexual abuse, all second-degree felonies. Each count carries a potential sentence of one to 15 years in prison. Russell was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 16.

By pleading no contest, Russell avoids a six-day trial that was scheduled to begin at the end of the month.

Russell worked for Extended Family Services, which houses troubled teens who are in the custody of the state, according to court documents. Between February and November of 2013, Russell inappropriately touched a 14-year-old girl on at least 12 different occasions, according to court documents.

As part of the plea deal, Russell acknowledged in court records, "I know that if I enter a no contest plea, a judgment of conviction will be entered by the court and I will be sentenced the same as if I had entered a guilty plea."

— Pat Reavy