While Utahns were watching a Heber City woman's documentary about an infamous 7-year-old sex abuse case Tuesday night, some of those most closely involved say they prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.
On Tuesday, KUED Channel 7 aired Rhea Gavry's "Promise Not to Tell," a one-hour documentary that revolves around the Alan Hadfield case, which made headlines because of accusations concerning ritualistic sexual abuse of children.In 1987, Hadfield, a Lehi resident, was convicted of sodomizing and sexually molesting his 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Fourth District Court Judge Cullen Y. Christensen sentenced Hadfield to seven concurrent terms in the Utah State prison, one for each of the sexual abuse charges against him, but suspended the sentence on the condition that he successfully complete 10 years on probation. Gavry interviewed many of the participants involved in the trial for the film.
Hadfield's attorney, D. Gilbert Athay, told the Deseret News that Hadfield is complying with the terms of that probation and is still waiting to hear from Christensen on a 1989 motion for a new trial.
Athay, the third attorney to represent Hadfield since he was arrested in 1985, said Hadfield has resettled elsewhere and is trying to start again. Athay said he doubted that Hadfield, who declined to be interviewed by Gavry for the film, would have watched the documentary.
"He played no role in its production, so I seriously doubt he watched it," Athay said. "I doubt that I will as well."
Gavry herself said that one thing that surprised her was the support for Hadfield during the trial. Neighbors and other members of the community helped raise as much as $10,000 to help pay his legal bills. Some media reports had much of the community itself rallying against the therapist, Barbara Snow, who had brought to light the allegations against Hadfield, while others discussed a group that help raise funds for the Hadfield children's continuing therapy.
A BYU clinical psychologist said that the film could bring back some old negative feelings into the community, but that the stir would probably be just a ripple.
"I'm not really privy to a lot of the information concerning the case, but anytime you've got a number of people accused of a crime in a community it's quite a negative thing," Bert Cundick said. "It was certainly very disconcerting to a lot of people."
However, the city's current mayor said that he believes the trial and the attention surrounding it will remain in the past, at least as far as he and other residents are concerned.
"There really hasn't been any reaction since we found out about the film," said Guy Cash, who served as a city councilman during that same time. "I'm shocked that it's being rehashed, but it's a dead issue as far as I know."
Cash, who also said he did not watch the film, added that some in the community, especially those who had been neighbors of the Hadfield family, might have some hard feelings about the film, but that they would eventually subside.
"The community has chosen to go on with its life," he said.