FARMINGTON The Cache County Attorney's Office didn't embellish a key witness' testimony in a recent sexual assault trial, according to results of an independent investigation released Saturday.
According to Davis County chief deputy attorney Bill McGuire, discrepancies in the Cache County witness' testimony against a pain doctor in Providence happened only after FBI agents started investigating allegations that Cache County Attorney George Daines encouraged the witness to exaggerate details of an alleged sexual assault in Dr. Ray Bedell's office.
The witness' testimony that Bedell fondled her breasts during an exam was consistent through conversations with acquaintances, every interview she had with the attorney's office and two trials over two years, McGuire said, until the witness was recently interviewed by the FBI. A report released to McGuire showed the FBI found 15 different areas of concern with the witness' account, including a statement made by the witness that she wouldn't give the same strong testimony again.
However, in McGuire's own investigation, which included an interview with the witness on Friday night, the witness said the FBI misconstrued her words. The Deseret News is withholding the witness' name as part of a policy not to name victims of sexual assaults.
"She confirmed that what she testified to (in the trial) was truthful, it was accurate," McGuire said. "She felt, candidly, terrified when the FBI agents came in to talk to her. She was fearful of why they were there, and based on that fear, she was hesitant to correct or give some of the information that would have made it more understandable to them. That was how she characterized it."
Neither McGuire nor Daines knows why the FBI launched its investigation into the case, but Daines asked the Davis County Attorney's Office to do an independent investigation to see if any improprieties had taken place to justify the FBI's investigation. Daines says the agency has never contacted or received any documents from him or his office for an investigation.
"I simply don't have any idea what's going on there," Daines said.
McGuire says he plans to interview the FBI agents who interviewed the witness and supplement his investigation with that information. In the meantime, McGuire says he's satisfied the Cache County Attorney's Office didn't do anything wrong.
"It's my conclusion that the Cache County Attorney's Office and personnel that work within that office committed no act of impropriety or any unethical acts during the entire time that they handled (this witness)," McGuire said.
A jury convicted Bedell of misdemeanor sexual battery in March 2007, but the doctor has not yet been sentenced. The trial was put on hold until questions about the Cache County Attorney's Office could be resolved. Daines said his office intends to close the case as quickly as possible.An attorney representing Bedell could not be reached for comment.