State Sen. Darrell Renstrom, D-North Ogden, was charged Monday with second-degree forcible sexual abuse. An Aug. 5 trial date was scheduled.
Renstrom, 57, is accused of propositioning a 19-year-old North Ogden man on June 22 and then grabbing him.In a written statement, Ren-strom denied the allegations. "I am both devastated and furious at the allegations that have been made," Renstrom said. "They are totally false, and what the motive might be I do not know."
Renstrom first appeared for a hearing Monday before 2nd Circuit Judge Parley Baldwin. He immediately waived a preliminary hearing and was taken to 2nd District Court, where he pleaded not guilty before District Judge David Roth.
Assistant Davis County Attorney Brian Namba handled the prosecution. The Weber County attorney's office turned the case over to the Davis County attorney because of Renstrom's frequent associations with the Weber prosecutor's office.
Defense attorney John Caine said he wants to get the trial over as soon as possible so Renstrom can continue his re-election campaign. Caine was confident that Renstrom will be acquitted of the felony charge.
Caine said his client has a habit of picking up hitchhikers and that's what he did the evening of June 22 when he picked up the teenager on Washington Boulevard.
The defense attorney said the victim asked Renstrom for money to buy drugs and his client refused. The teenager then threatened the senator. Once he got out of Renstrom's car, Caine said, the man called police.
Caine described his client as "very trusting" yet "very dumb" for picking up hitchhikers.
Renstrom was first elected to the Senate in 1972, resigning his post as assistant Weber County attorney.