AMERICAN FORK When people ask Daniel Thompson if he will recover from criminal charges relating to sexual acts with two underage girls, he's not sure what to say.
"It will be very, very difficult to bounce back from this," said Thompson, the owner of the former Flix Club, an edited-movie shop in Orem. "I have become a recluse. My life was on hold until today."
Friday morning, Thompson was sentenced in 4th District Court to 44 days in jail for two class A misdemeanors of sexual battery.
Police learned that Thompson and Isaac Lifferth had participated in sex acts in the back room of Flix Club with two 14-year-old girls who claimed to be 18.
"It was a bad judgement call, not a deliberate act of malice," Thompson said, adding that he was only with the girls for a minute before his conscience kicked in and he told them to stop, then left.
"But less than a minute destroys my life," he said.
Along with spending 44 days in the Utah County Jail, Thompson will be on the jail's GPS ankle monitoring system for another 75 days and spend two years on probation, Judge David Mortensen ruled.
"I do not believe that it was just a passing question when you asked how old they were," Mortensen said. "(That shows) some indication that you were at least approaching the line that was dangerous."
After the hearing, Thompson said he was only making small talk with the girls and never doubted that they were 18, like they said they were. He also never knew that Lifferth had paid the girls $20 each for the sex acts.
"I don't want to go to jail," Thompson said. "I was surprised (by the sentence), but I also accept it."
Thompson's attorney, Mike Petro, had asked that all the time be served on the GPS system, allowing Thompson the ability to pay restitution in another financial-related felony case as well as take care of his two young children.
They will be taken care of by family members while Thompson is in jail, he said.
Petro also pointed out the differences in the cases of Thompson and Lifferth, who was sentenced in June to 210 days in jail on two third-degree felonies of sexual activity with a minor, and misdemeanors of patronizing a prostitute and possession of a controlled substance.
"Because of the fact the co-defendant was given a harsher sentence, there was some inclination on Adult Probation and Parole to recommend a jail sentence for Mr. Thompson," Petro said. "But there are some real stark differences between the two cases."
Lifferth had arranged the meetings and paid the girls. He also met with the girls on several occasions for favors before he brought them to the store and they met Thompson, Petro said.
Friday was the first time Thompson has talked to the media about the events of Jan. 24, when he was arrested. He clarified that Lifferth was never a co-owner or partner but a friend of a friend who needed a job, so Thompson gave him one.
Lifferth's desk contained the pornographic DVDs police found during a search, and the keg of beer in the back had a purchase receipt bearing Lifferth's name, Thompson said.
Thompson was adamant that his edited-movie store in Orem was never a front for pornography and that he never propositioned anyone for anything."I'm sorry because I failed at doing what was right," an emotional Thompson said after the hearing. "I'm going to jail, which is very difficult for me."