A Provo businessman who pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of attempted sexual abuse involving a 17-year-old male employee will spend 90 days in the Utah State Prison's diagnostic unit before being sentenced.
Michael McPhie, 44, appeared before 4th District Judge Ray M. Harding Friday for sentencing on one count of attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony. McPhie was originally charged with forcible sexual abuse and forcible sodomy.Howard Johnson, McPhie's attorney, told Harding that much of Adult Probation and Parole's presentence report is a "misinterpretation" of doctors' reports. He said McPhie could be treated with outpatient counseling and asked Harding not to sentence McPhie to prison.
Johnson argued that incarcerating McPhie would force him to close down his business and cost more than 25 people their jobs. McPhie's company works in conjunction with the Provo City Airport, and Johnson said placing McPhie in jail would jeopardize 25 percent of the airport's federal funding.
"Those things are not going to be there if he goes to a 90-day evaluation," Johnson said.
Deputy County Attorney Phil Hadfied said McPhie has a prior conviction and said the presentence report is accurate. He said outpatient treatment would not be appropriate in McPhie's case and would not protect those working for McPhie.
"It was at this place of business that this boy was victimized," Hadfield said.
Harding said he needed more information to assist him in imposing sentence and said the prison's diagnostic unit could provide that information. He gave McPhie time to take care of business matters and ordered him to report March 18. McPhie will return for sentencing June 14.