A 4th District jury will decide this week whether a Springville man was running a legitimate day-care club or if he was using the organization as front to sexually abuse children.
Testimony began Monday in the trial of Arvid Oakley, 54, former operator of Superkids of America. Oakley is charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.Utah County prosecutors allege that Oakley abused a 5-year-old girl while she bathed at his home. The incident allegedly occurred between December 1996 and April 1997. Oakley pleaded not guilty in April.
Prosecutors are expected to present a videotaped interview the young girl had with a state social worker where she says Oakley touched her "private parts" while bathing her. The tape was used during Oakley's preliminary hearing, and the victim took the witness stand and identified Oakley.
Oakley incorporated Superkids of America in 1995. Investigators say children participating in the organization went on overnight camping trips with Oakley and sometimes stayed overnight at his Springville home.
Investigators say Oakley inspected some naked children in a room in his house that he called "the tick room." They also allege that he photographed some children during the inspections.
Detectives testified at Oakley's preliminary hearing that Oakley said the examinations were part of his training to become a paramedic.
In opening arguments Monday, prosecutors said they plan to show that Oakley has a sexual preference for children and has had these feelings since his teen years. The prosecution also plans on recounting interviews Oakley had on three separate occasions with Springville officers about his sexual preference for young girls and calling himself "an opportunist."
Prosecutors say Oakley used toys, games and other programs of Superkids of America to gain the trust of children.
Oakley's attorney plans to show that Oakley is a selfless man who wanted to help children and families through his non-profit club.
The trial is expected to last through Thursday. If convicted, Oakley faces a possible sentence of five years to life in prison.