PROVO — A married couple who prosecutors say allowed and even encouraged sexual behavior with a 16-year-old girl are one step closer to trial.

Bret Golden MacArthur and his wife, Jennifer, listened Tuesday morning as the alleged victim, now 21, testified that her sexual encounters with Bret MacArthur were "too many to count," and that some of them involved Jennifer MacArthur as well.

Prosecutors charged Bret MacArthur with 11 felonies, and his wife with three felonies of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old in November 2007, after the victim came to police and told them she wanted the sexual-abuse case resurrected.

The case had first been investigated several years ago when the victim was younger, but she was too far into the "relationship" with Bret MacArthur that she didn't want to testify, Springville Cpl. Gary Carter testified Tuesday.

The victim said after Tuesday's hearing in 4th District Court that during her lengthy "relationship" with Bret MacArthur, there had been talk of them getting married.

"There was one point where marriage was talked about and rings were involved," she said. "But that ended."

She said after a previous hearing that Bret MacArthur had treated her kindly and given her gifts — things she never had before — and she thought she was in love. But then she grew up and realized what was really happening.

She said it's not difficult seeing him at the hearing, but she dislikes talking about her past and would rather ignore it, she said.

The victim said she met Bret MacArthur when she was 10 and living in Springville and while he was on the ambulance crew there.

Later, when the victim was in foster care, she would visit the MacArthurs on the weekends as allowed by her mother, rather than staying with her mother.

"(Your mother) had knowledge of you having sexual intercourse with Bret?" asked Bret MacArthur's defense attorney Debbie Hill.

"The entire time, yes," the girl responded. She said her mom didn't encourage it but allowed it, then clarified that her mother is "not all there."

When the girl came forward to police, they had her call Bret MacArthur, who allegedly confessed on the phone to remembering all of the times they'd had sexual intercourse and that he missed her, Carter testified.

"At the beginning (of the conversation) he expressed regret, he felt that he had pushed and forced (the victim) into having intercourse with him," Carter said. "He regretted he didn't let the relationship develop naturally."

Having heard the bulk of evidence against Bret MacArthur, defense attorney Mike Esplin argued that the charges against Jennifer MacArthur should be dismissed.

He argued she may have touched and fondled the victim but never engaged sexually with her, just her husband.

"She may have intentionally engaged in those acts ... and that may be another crime, but that's not this crime (of sexual abuse of a child)," Esplin said.

Attorneys will be filing motions to argue different aspects of the case, which will be heard again Nov. 18.


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