A former Utah State Hospital employee will spend 90 days in the Utah State Prison diagnostic unit before being sentenced in 4th District Court on two counts of abusing disabled adults, third-degree felonies.

David E. Taylor, 22, of Holladay, pleaded no contest to the charges on Dec. 21. He was originally charged with six counts of abusing disabled adults. Taylor was in court Friday for sentencing before Judge Cullen Y. Christensen.Taylor and his attorney, Dale Dorius, requested that he be placed on probation, contending that the charges against him were exaggerated. Taylor was arrested in April after an undercover police officer working on a drug assignment said he witnessed Taylor choking and slapping patients and shooting them with staples.

Taylor and several of his family members told Christensen that the testimony of the undercover officer was not accurate and that Taylor's abuse of the patients was minor. Taylor said none of the patients required medical attention and that often he was the victim of abuse from patients. He said he cared for the patients and spent much of his own time and money on them.

"I feel kind of cheated, I feel I was good to those clients," Taylor said.

Prosecuting attorney Phil Hadfield said Taylor did inflict serious injury on the patients and said his denial of the charges should concern the court. He said Taylor needs to accept the blame and take responsibility for his actions.

Christensen told Taylor, his attorney and family members, it is the court's obligation to protect those patients who cannot defend themselves. He said testimony of Taylor's innocence was not relevant because Taylor in fact admitted his guilt when he pleaded no contest.

"This man is not before me as an innocent man," Christensen said. "As far as the court is concerned these things did happen."

Taylor's wife told Christensen the only reason he pleaded no contest was that they could not afford to fight the charges.

Christensen said he was satisfied that Taylor needs some kind of treatment and ordered him to report to the diagnostic unit. Taylor will return to court on April 26 for sentencing and faces up to five years in prison.