Forrest Barth

PROVO — A judge delayed sentencing again for a man who pleaded guilty to breaking into a teenager's house and climbing onto her bed naked.

"I know everybody would like to have it resolved today and so would I," said 4th District Court Judge Claudia Laycock, who paused rather than pronounce a sentence for Forrest Barth. "But ... I look at what's best for the victim and what's best for the defendant. I have to weigh those very, very carefully. To do it hastily just to make everybody happy doesn't solve problems for anyone."

Barth, 21, was arrested first by Provo police on May 7 for trespassing on the property of a girl he considered his girlfriend. A glitch at the court allowed him to bail out of jail and on May 9 he came back to the 17-year-old girl's home, got undressed and climbed onto the girl as she slept.

In late August, Barth pleaded guilty to burglary, attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old and possession of a controlled substance. He was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, and the hearing proceeded as normal until the end.

Barth has no criminal history and the pre-sentence review recommended a jail sentence of around 215 days. However, if given credit for time served, Barth would be out in a few days, which Laycock didn't feel would be just for the victim.

Laycock suggested that Barth be reviewed by a diagnostic unit in the prison that evaluates inmates and helps isolate their problems and fit them with corresponding programs. Because Barth is from Salt Lake County, he could get enrolled in a program there that might not be available in Utah County.

"I don't really want him to go to prison as a result of the diagnostic," Laycock. "I want him to have the opportunity to look at what is available for him as an inpatient program."

However, defense attorney Tom Means said Barth might not be eligible for the programs unless he had been in prison, which both the judge and prosecutor Randy Kennard said they thought would be harmful for Barth.

Laycock said she would talk with prison officials and thus delayed sentencing until Oct. 31.

Barth's family and friends did not want to comment after the hearing.

The girl's mother was in court and tearfully testified about her daughter.

"She has asked to drop out of public school," said the mother, who is not being identified because the Deseret Morning News does not, by relation, identify victims of sex crimes. "This is her senior year. She should be happy and go-lucky and she's not. She's home, being schooled where she feels safe."

The mother did not have a specific request for a sentence, but told the judge she doesn't think her daughter is ready to have Barth back on the streets. The girl didn't even want to come to the sentencing because she was afraid, her mother said.

Barth wiped away tears as the mother spoke and told the judge he has been investigating rehab centers. "I've been deeply grieved about my actions and my abuse," he said. "I've lost everything I had. I've destroyed many relationships that I can't repair now. But I'm taking steps to get everything back in place."


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