A former Mountain View High School football player avoided a trial for alleged sexual abuse of a 17-year-old girl Tuesday, but the victim still feels justice was done.
Matthew F. Stroshine, 18, Orem, appeared in 4th District Juvenile Court Tuesday. He was scheduled to undergo a trial on two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, but instead entered into a plea-in-abeyance agreement with prosecutors.If Stroshine meets certain conditions during the next 12 months, one of the felony sexual abuse counts will be dismissed and the other will be reduced to gross lewdness, a Class A misdemeanor.
For the victim and her family, the agreement accomplishes the objectives they set out to complete when they began contacting news media, government officials, school administrators and coaches of opposing football teams about the case last fall. The family just wanted to see Stroshine admit what he did, get professional help and take steps to ensure he won't assault someone else, prosecutor Chris Yannelli said.
"The settlement agreement accomplishes what we feel is a just punishment for this disturbed young man," the girl's family said in a statement. "Not only must Matthew Stroshine accept the responsibility of his guilt, he has the opportunity to change his life."
On Oct. 15, Stroshine was charged in juvenile court with assaulting the girl while they were watching movies with friends in an Orem home Aug. 18. The girl told police a boy touched her genitals and made her touch his without her consent.
On Tuesday, the victim was present in court while Stroshine told Judge Sterling B. Sainsbury that he would submit to conditions of the agreement. About a dozen high school students also attended the hearing to show support for the victim.
The girl's family said they allowed prosecutors to pursue the agreement because they realized a trial might inflict further emotional damage on the victim. She already has undergone "an insurmountable amount of pain," she said.
Stroshine was ordered to commit no crimes during 12 months, to participate in counseling related to his conduct and to submit a pro-gress report to the court every three months. Sainsbury also told him to have no contact with the victim or her family and to pay a fine of $200.
"You have 12 months to prove to the court, to your family and to everyone else that this type of conduct is not characteristic of the kind of person you are going to be," Sainsbury told Stroshine.
The judge told Stroshine that at the end of a year, "I hope you can say to yourself, `I've paid the price; I can move on with my life.' I don't want to see you back here, but if you do, the penalty will be severe," Sainsbury said.
Yannelli said the agreement is fair because it won't result in all charges simply being dropped if Stroshine completes the conditions. The Class A misdemeanor will remain on Stroshine's juvenile record.
"He admits to the felony charge, but it's held open for 12 months," Yannelli said.
If Stroshine were to violate conditions of the plea-in-abeyance, attorneys could proceed with prosecution of the two felony sexual abuse counts.