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Sandy man says he's grateful for justice; attorney says it was his accusers who attacked him

Published: Friday, May 23 2014 2:55 p.m. MDT

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Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT

If our justice system really worked, the name of the woman and/or her daughter would be plastered all over the front page of the newspaper!. When someone like this bad woman ruins another person's life with false accusations, why do they get a pass? This good man should try to counter sue the false accuser for damages, but I'm guessing she is probably a dead-beat and doesn't have anything and never will.

Kally
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Meckofahess: The daughter is probably just as much a victim of her mother as the man who was falsely accused. Releasing her name or the name of her mother would irreparably damage her while probably doing nothing to harm the mother.

Luckily, this man seems to have the true love of Christ in his heart and is able to think beyond his own interests to what is best for others involved.

Now that he has been acquitted the best thing is to move on.

Michael Matthews
Omaha, NE

@ Meck,

Scenario: Man A goes into a jewelry store and steals some jewelry. Man B passing by at the opportune time sees it and reports the crime. For my point, assume this happened as so. In the trial Man B's truthfulness gets called into question. Man B has a history of convictions himself. Or perhaps a false witness says that Man B was with them at the time in question. Perhaps even Man A has figured out a way to sneak some of the jewelry into man B's friends house and the whole situations is a "meck of a hess". Eventually Man A is acquitted. Did Man B lie here? Is he guilty of anything related to the situation? The problem is... not convincing someone of a crime does not mean that he or she didn't do it. They might have, but there is not enough reliable evidence to convict. The same thing might have happened here. You "can't" reveal the "accuser" unless there is compelling evidence that she or he committed crime. It's a big quandary in our legal system. I don't know what the real solution is.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

Just another example of why everyone should go two by two. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses..." The cops need to be more diligent and the prosecutors need not to have tunnel vision in these cases. They need to clearly establish facts that can be proved, including motive, and then proceed. In cases like this cops tend to belive the "victim". Personally I agree with Meckofahess. The accusers should have their names and faces plastered all over the news. Since there allegations have been proven wrong, they have no expectation of privacy.

I investigated a case years ago where a student accused a teacher of abusing him. I quickly established the fact that the kid was lying due to multiple witness statements by other kids that were there. Once that fact was established, the case was solved and no action was taken because nothing happened. All statements from witnesses, including the supposed suspect, agreed in detail and contradicted the accuser. A man's reputation was save due to a good initial investigation done with open eyes.

Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT

@MICHAEL MATHEWS and FLASHBACK:

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful replies to my comment. No doubt these things can be tricky to ferret out. All I am trying to convey is the idea that when someone makes false accusations (and if that is proven), there should be consequences for the accuser. Often, it appears that false accusers ruin other peoples lives and get away with it with impunity. Where is the justice for a victim of false accusations after he or she has their reputations trashed, loses job and so-forth? Would it be unjust when someone falsely accuses another to have their destructive behavior exposed to the public so that they can feel the gravity of their malicious behavior? I think if false accusers knew there were severe consequences for that type of behavior we would see fewer innocent people's lives ruined!. Sadly our society seems to be more tolerant for the rights of the criminal and less for the victim.

Mack2828
Ft Thomas, KY

It should be remembered that the jury did not find this man innocent. Juries aren't asked to do that. They simply heard the case and concluded that the state was not able to present enough evidence to prove that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. "Not guilty" does not mean the same thing as "innocent". Only he and the women who accused him know with certainty what happened that day.

sandrad
West Jordan, UT

This is in response to "Mack" from Kentucky. The jury did not have to find the man innocent. In criminal cases, there is a presumption of innocence until a person is found guilty. The man in this case was acquitted, therefore, he is innocent.

K
Mchenry, IL

It is interesting who we are glad gets found guilty and who we are glad are found to be not guilty. The jury didn't find the allegations false. The jury found no reason to convict. While this man should be treated as if none of this ever happened we don't publish names of people who reported being victims of a crime. No one would come forward because there is no way to know how a jury would rule.

Flashback I hope you are in law enforcement and didn't take an allegation into your own hands to determine it's validity. That is why scouting and church scandals are being investigation after decades, often after the death of the accused. People in authority deciding for themselves whether to notify law enforcement.

Mack2828
Ft Thomas, KY

@sandrad,

I would agree with your post if the last five words said "therefore, he is presumed innocent."
The law does indeed presume him to be innocent until proven guilty.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who have been acquitted of crimes when in fact they did commit the crime. Not saying that's the case here, I'm just trying to make my point.

Only he, the women who accused him, and God know for certainty what happened that day.

Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT

Mack,

Both he and the woman had the opportunity to present their cases in court and she was unable to prove what she said. Based on our system of justice there should no longer be any suspicion cast toward this man.

Of course, at the same time, unless the man chooses to press charges against the woman we shouldn't go accusing her either.

Flashback hit the nail on the head. No church leader should be visiting or meeting with members of their congregation alone. It leaves people open for these kinds of situations and unfortunately there are people who will take advantage of it.

JSB
Sugar City, ID

I'm pleased he was cleared but what can be done to help this man get his job back and to compensate him for his lost wages and other expenses associated with this false accusation?

StaciLynn
Richfield, UT

There could still be pending charges on the self proclaimed victims if it has been found that they were falsely accusing the defendant. Often charges are not brought until after the first case is heard, it is amazing what kind of detective work can be done by the defense while preparing for trial that was not found prior to charges being made. Since this could be considered a waste of the tax payers funds & the courts time if something concrete was divulged during the trial that proves this was a false accusation & perhaps a motive as well then charges could be filed on the accuser in the near future.

Hopefully this man can move forward with his life in a positive way, it sounds like he has a positive attitude from this article. I imagine after this he doesn't take things for granted that we so often do. Hopefully we all learn from this the reason for visiting others in groups of 2 or more the buddy system is good for more than just camping.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

"This is like being freed from an indictment," he said. "He could not go to church, he could not participate, he could not take communion. Now his good name has been cleared."

He says he could not do those things. This implies he can now. I thought Bishops in the LDS church were supposed to operate by inspiration. Either he was guilty this entire time or he wasn't.

bobdc6
park city, UT

There's a lot more to this story and if the involved woman is charged with assault and battery, it will come out.

Dan Maloy
Enid, OK

@ cjb - Bountiful, UT "This is like being freed from an indictment," he said. "He could not go to church, he could not participate, he could not take communion. Now his good name has been cleared." He says he could not do those things. This implies he can now. I thought Bishops in the LDS church were supposed to operate by inspiration. Either he was guilty this entire time or he wasn't."

OK...it's late and I need to go to bed but I must respond.

You are implying, in an underhanded way, that this LDS leader was unworthy to take the sacrament (ie, "guilty") and the proof of that is in the fact he did not take the sacrament for the 2 yrs the legal case wound its way through the courts. The "inspiration" comment is also below the belt.

Rebuttal: Is it not possible that the LDS church said "don't take the sacrament until this is resolved" and he humbly obeyed?

"Inspiration"....sometimes inspiration leads us through difficult and painful paths. Perhaps inspiration was received and acted on by the LDS leader and the MOTHER did not reciprocate? You do not know.

sukiyhtaky
us, CA

Dan...I can understand the church removing him from his position pending the trial, but why would they tell him not to attend services or refrain from sacrament? Are you implying that they thought he was guilty? That is what your rebuttal says to me. Perhaps they were thinking about OJ Simpson who was also found innocent?

For those looking for him to be compensated, he can always bring a civil action against the woman, but a single mother with two kids probably doesn't have anything.

This is exactly why there is always supposed to be at least one other person nearby during a meeting and there must be at least two visiting a home. Wasn't it Hinckley who told the story of seeing his secretary standing at a bus stop during a snow storm and not stopping to give her a ride because he was alone and that goes against 'company' policy. Probably a good reminder for everyone.

Oh Really?
HERRIMAN, UT

There are additional informative facts presented on the Tribune website.

Laura Bilington
Maple Valley, WA

Meck, you make a good point. Why should the DN let anyone--particularly someone who makes especially hurtful comments and wild accusations--hide behind a screen name? I certainly don't have a problem writing under my own name.

Even our local newspaper refused to print letters under fake names. The requirement was stated with a simple explanation: "If you don't have enough courage of your convictions to sign your own name, don't waste the time of either of us."

Laura Bilington
Maple Valley, WA

I'm a bit confused as to why this man either refrained from or was told to stay away from church. Was it because it was feared that he might attack somebody at church? Or that he might be guilty and shouldn't associate with unguilty people? Are people convicted of crimes barred from the LDS church forever? Or are they considered permanantly contaminated but able to go to a special ward for others in the same position? Serious question.

Rural sport fan
DUCHESNE, UT

Laura in WA...good questions.
I'm not sure what the specifics were in this man's case, but the LDS church does conduct services in prisons. They are allowed to attend regular meetings when freed.

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