AMERICAN FORK Two men charged with patronizing underage prostitutes in an edited-movie shop in Orem may have plea deals in the works.
Daniel Thompson, 31, former owner of Flix Club in Orem, was scheduled to have a hearing Friday in American Fork's 4th District Court. However, his attorney had filed a motion to continue it, due to scheduling conflicts.
Attorney Mike Petro said he was planning to ask for a preliminary hearing, sort through the facts and go from there, but state prosecutors wanted to chat first.
"The prosecution has wanted to talk with me about resolving it," he said. "Nothing that's formalized, but they have indicated to me they want to talk with me about it."
A call to the Utah County Attorney's Office was not immediately returned Friday.
Thompson and store co-owner Isaac Lifferth, 24, were arrested Jan. 24 after Orem police got information that the men had traded sexual favors for money with two 14-year-old girls, who claimed to be 18 years old.
The case came to light when one of the girls' mothers saw $20 in her room and asked where she got it. After learning it was payment for sex acts, the mother called police.
Petro said he believes Lifferth is more culpable because he was the one who arranged the meetings and, on his arrest, was found unlawfully possessing Lortab, according to police reports filed in 4th District Court.
However, unlike Lifferth, Thompson has a lengthy criminal history and is still on federal probation for selling unregistered securities, according to court documents.
Although the two men's cases are linked in the court files, their defenses are not, said Lifferth's attorney, Jere Reneer. He and Lifferth have been reviewing an offer from state prosecutors for several weeks.
"We anticipate entering a plea on the date scheduled," Reneer said, referring to Lifferth's hearing on May 9.
However, unlike many other court cases, resolving this case doesn't mean sorting through several different versions of the facts everyone said the men thought the girls were 18, including the girls, Reneer said.
"Everybody is telling the same story, that's not the issue," Reneer said. "The issue is how do we resolve this?"
Reneer said his client was approached by the girls through text messages, asking if they would be willing to trade money for sexual favors.
Lifferth then allegedly arranged the meetings between himself and the girls and Thompson and the girls, several of which took place in a back room of the formerly family-friendly, edited-movie shop."They told him they were 18," Reneer said. "It was a mistake, he's embarrassed for himself ... and the spotlight it's put on his family that they don't deserve. He's looking forward to doing what he needs to to take care of this."
E-mail: [email protected]