Comments about ‘Judge questions whether sex abuse was 'invited,' orders probation for jailer’

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Victim, advocate say such comments are why women don't always report sex crimes

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 9:35 p.m. MST

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Ed Grady
Idaho Falls, ID

What a creepy judge.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Provo, UT

The judge isn't wrong.

Without other evidence it ultimately is word against word, credibility against credibility. And ultimately the burden of proof can only fairly be placed on the accuser, not accused.

"Deputy" doesn't warrant an exemption of scrutiny, but "criminal" does weaken the credibility of the accuser. With that said, it may very well be true. Personally, I don't doubt it or believe it either way. But I wouldn't hate the judge for not locking a man up and potentially splitting up his family... all on someone's word. And if he had... people might have asked why he took "the word of a criminal", etc.


With that said, protocol is an issue that can weigh in on this.

1 - Why aren't multiple parties present for a physical check?
2 - Why not in an area under at least partial surveillance?

Ultimately, where this man requested a training and didn't get it, requested a transfer and didn't get it, this doesn't hurt his case at all. If anything it could hurt the prison's credibility, but that's it.

Perhaps the truth hasn't surfaced, but that isn't the judge's fault.

Dayton, NV

"Killpack . . . reminded the judge that Epperson didn't ever admit to anything other than sexual assault."

That's a pretty egregious typo. The article makes it clear that Epperson only admitted to "simple assault."

Salt Lake City, UT

Get this judge off the bench.

Layton, UT

Judge Sam is one of the finest and fairest people I know. I absolutely trust his judgement and appreciate his service.

Salt Lake City, UT

This article would be much more useful if the reader were told what crimes Killpack committed that got her thrown in jail. Is she a thief? Did her crimes reflect dishonesty? Did her presentencing report indicate borderline personality disorder and a propensity to hurt others? Do her crimes indicate that she's a compulsive liar, unwilling to acknowledge her complicity in the problems in her life? If so, then her credibility should indeed be questioned.

Was she in jail for prostitution, indecent exposure, or similar sex-related crimes? If so, the degree of offense she suffered is open to question.

On the other hand, if Killpack was in jail for unpaid traffic tickets (unlikely), then she is entitled to greater credibility. If she was in jail for selling heroin, then other implications might be drawn.

She wasn't in jail for being a trustworthy, honest, upstanding citizen, no matter what the Rape Crisis Center may say. Unfortunately, this article deprives the reader of sufficient information to form an opinion of Killpack's reliability.

Salt Lake City, UT

"'As I said previously, this case is just fraught with 'she said, he said.' It's fraught with the possibility of conduct that was lured, encouraged and invited,' Sam said."
All of which may be true AND no excuse for illegal conduct by the officer, if it occurred.

I agree with the comment above that because of all the problems cited above, the **real** issue at hand is a protocol that would allow such a 'she said, he said.' condition to ever exist in this environment. It might be expensive but a system of constantly recorded surveillance camera coverage would remove the problem of contrary 2-party testimony.

My guess is it would also do something of even greater importance by **preventing** any improper behavior in the first place.

Provo, UT

The man admits he touched these women inappropriately. It doesn't matter if it was "invited" or not, it was wrong in the context of guard vs. inmate. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Unbelievable that some posters think this was ok.

Atlanta, GA

Sexual predators need to flock to Utah... this judge has your back! And women... BEWARE.

Pickerington, OH

The key word here is CONSENT. If you are an inmate under the authority of a jailer you do not have legal CONSENT, regardless of the circumstances. The judge is wrong and prison reform is desperately needed. Also, the US is obsessed with incarcerating people for minor offenses anyway, which just makes this kind of problem even worse.

Atlanta, GA

DANTE: It does NOT matter what her crime was... This officer admitted he touched this woman inappropriately. HE ADMITTED IT. Her past is no issue.

Houston, TX

@Dante - "Unfortunately, this article deprives the reader of sufficient information to form an opinion of Killpack's reliability".

Fortunately, we do not need to form an opinion on this. I am grateful for all the things that I do not need to decide.

However, I wonder what a "jury of her peers" (other inmates?) would have decided about this alleged abuse.

Western Rover
Herriman, UT

cc423, how do you explain the same judge's opinion in the Womack case, as quoted in this story? If the judge was lenient on Epperson because he's lax on sexual assault, rather than because the evidence wasn't strong, then why did he come down much harder on Womack?

I admit that I myself was pretty skeptical about this judge's impartiality and was prepared to write a comment about injustice until I got to the part about the Womack case.

San Diego, CA

Dante: "Was she in jail for prostitution, indecent exposure, or similar sex-related crimes? If so, the degree of offense she suffered is open to question."

No it isn't. Your comment shows everything that is wrong with some men (and some women) who still cleave to a 1950's mistake ideology about sexual assault and abuse in general. Even a criminal in jail or a prostitute is entitle to NOT be raped nor abused nor groped and the punishment should be the same for all offenders, or maybe even harsher for offenders in positions of trust.

It's about us and the way we as law abiding citizens behave not what someone's past crimes or job is or was.

Whoa Nellie
American Fork, UT

Dante, your comments are not credible or valid if you can't even identify the victim/inmate. Killpack was the defense attorney according to this article. Stay on topic.

Salt Lake City, UT

For those that say the nature of her crime is irrelevant don't understand evidence. The crime she was charged with may affect her credibility, and can be used to impeach it. Mitigating factors may be at play. Judge Sam is as experienced and fair a judge as there is.

The Final Word
Alpine, UT

A couple of comments.

If the dude touched her inappropriately then he obviously should not have done that and should receive punishment accordingly.

That being said just because a woman claims it happens doesn't mean it did and starting with the premise that they guy is guilty just because a woman said something happened is wrong.

There are plenty of incidences where everyone believed one thing and when the evidence and facts came forward it was an entirely different story.

Each case should be decided on its own and not with instantly believing anyone male/female by default. I get tired of the argument "well this is women don't come forward.....". Each case should stand on its own.

Duke lacrosse rape case ring a bell with anyone?

Big Joe V
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

@Dante, Her reasons for being in jail are irrelevant to the crime committed to her. You are still a human being not a sex toy.

One opinion
west jordan, UT

From what I understand a jailer/prison employee comes up against all kinds of provocation but is trained to know that they must remain steadfast - no matter what the provocation is. They are trained in all sorts of ways to avoid reacting to the provocations, whether it is being spit on, swore at, or other tactics are used on them. All kinds of agreements are signed by the employee and they know what is appropriate and what is not. The point is, he dishonored the commitments he has made. If an employee transgresses that commitment, they are generally fired or reprimanded in some way. In this case put on probation.

Provo, UT

So, this comment was denied initially, but I can't see how it's any more or less offensive than other posted comments. It might be because I included the words "breast" and "genitalia," but those are the terms used in the article.

More and more, I see how much the powers that be are a good ole' boy system. In health-care, law, and politics, there seems to be no justice for the "little guy." This judge should realize that, invited or not, the guard's position meant that he could not, under any circumstances instantiate sexual contact with prisoners. What's worse is that there are lawyers like this out there who feel it is fine to help others lie their way out of any sort of accountability for their actions. Not sufficient training? No one ever taught him that he shouldn't touch the bare breasts or genitalia of a detained prisoner in his care, with or without his permission? As a judge, I'd be offended that someone would think I'd be so stupid as to buy that excuse.

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