A 2nd District judge was to rule Wednesday on a motion to hold separate trials for a former Bountiful policeman charged with the forcible sexual abuse of two Bountiful women.
Roger G. Closen, 50, is scheduled to be tried August 3 on three counts of forcible sexual abuse involving the two women. Closen, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, has since left the Bountiful police force.Defense attorney Jack Helgesen on Tuesday asked Judge Rodney S. Page in a pre-trial hearing to separate the charges because hearing testimony from a second victim could prejudice a jury against Closen on the two charges involving the first victim.
Hearing testimony back-to-back will do nothing except prejudice a jury and "show Roger Closen is a bad guy," Helgesen said.
Carvel Harward, the chief trial attorney in the Davis County Attorney's Office and the prosecutor in the case, disagreed, saying the three charges are all part of a single criminal episode and should be tried together.
Closen's actions involving the two women show his state of mind and intent, Harward argued.
Closen is scheduled for trial Aug. 3 on the charges, all second-degree felonies that carry a prison term of 1-15 years.
According to testimony at the Feb. 17 preliminary hearing in Clearfield 4th Circuit Court, Closen sexually molested the two women in their apartments after responding to a prowler call while he was on duty Jan. 8.
The two women testified he fondled them under the guise of teaching them self-defense tactics. One woman, noting he was in uniform and carried a gun during the first incident, testified she was afraid of Closen.
Closen maintains the women, both of whom are mentally handicapped, consented to his advances and were willing partners, according to Helgesen. Closen's original trial date in May was delayed at Helgesen's request to obtain psychological profiles of the two women.