The caller ID made me think the phone call was for one of our three daughters, so I was surprised when the voice on the other end belonged not to the girl I expected but to her mother.
Had I seen the recent brief item in the paper, she wanted to know, about the 21-year-old man arrested at Seven Peaks Water Park for touching a 14-year-old girl inappropriately over her swimsuit, right out in plain sight?
"Yes," I said, with a growing sense of foreboding.
"Well," she went on, "I kept meaning to talk to my daughters about it because I drop them off at Seven Peaks twice a week."
"When I finally brought it up," the mother continued, "our 11-year-old told me the same thing happened to her. We called the police and she identified the same man. The police told me another girl, a 6-year-old, also came forward."
The voice was calm and reasoned. She wanted a newsman's advice. How could she cajole the newspapers into printing the assailant's photo? "If there are other girls, they need help," she said, and the police also told her that if there are other girls and they come forward, the assailant's sentence would be longer, if convicted.
Sounded like an easy story to sell to an editor, especially when she said she'd gone to Seven Peaks on Wednesday and asked to talk to someone about the guy who was arrested there.
The reply stunned her: "Which one?"
A security worker told her such incidents had happened four times this year, including one that very day, when a 71-year-old man was arrested because of an alert lifeguard.
The man was swimming prone in a very shallow part of the children's wading pool when the lifeguard saw him approach a 13-year-old girl and touch her chest, according to court documents filed Thursday. He also allegedly touched a 6-year-old boy's genitals before security arrived.
As I researched my caller's story, I discovered a 21-year-old young man struggling with life.
In August, Wesley Wade Thompson was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded guilty but violated his sentence by not paying a $446 fine.
On Jan. 15, Utah Valley University police gave Thompson a ticket for reckless driving. He failed to appear in court, was arrested on a warrant, pleaded guilty in April and was fined $344.
On Jan. 27, Lehi police allege that he sexually abused a 4-year-old girl, a second-degree felony. Eerily, a court document in this ongoing case notes on June 6, just a couple of weeks before he was arrested at Seven Peaks, that Thompson would undergo a psychosexual evaluation.
On May 26, May 30 and June 2, Orem police arrested Thompson for criminal trespass. Evicted from the Parkway Crossing apartment complex in Orem, Thompson returned again and again. He pleaded guilty to two charges on Wednesday; the others were dismissed.
And on June 6, the same day he appeared in court on the Lehi sex abuse case, Orem police arrested Thompson once more for possession of drug paraphernalia. He entered a guilty plea on June 10, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The jail sentence was suspended, but the judge ordered 12 months' probation.
None of that proves anything about the Seven Peaks cases Thompson faces three second-degree felony charges but it is evidence of a life spiraling into increasing trouble.
Thompson has been in jail on $25,000 bail since his June 23 arrest at Seven Peaks. Court documents show that Provo police allege Thompson approached the 14-year-old in the wave pool and grabbed her crotch over her swimsuit. He apologized and fled, according to the court documents.
The mother who called me said her daughter told a similar story of being touched and being told it was an accident.
The redeeming part of this story is that conversation that took place between mother and daughter, something that should take place before a problem arises, said Ronda Gates, director of the shelter at the Center for Women and Children in Crisis.
"You can talk to your children about good touching and bad touching without tainting them," Gates said.
Parents should discuss welcome touches, what is comfortable and uncomfortable, when tickling is OK and when it goes too far, how to say "no" when someone invites them to sit on a lap.And then we all need to help each other keep a keen eye on our children, the way that lifeguard did.
Utah County Bureau Chief Tad Walch lives with his wife and five children in Provo, their home for 21 years. E-mail [email protected].