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Geoff Liesik, Deseret News
Defense attorney Earl Xaiz addresses the court during a preliminary hearing for Brian P. Gomez on Wednesday, June 18, in 4th District Court in Heber City. Gomez, 40, is charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. He is accused of sexually abusing two girls who were staying in his hotel suite on Dec. 31, 2013.

HEBER CITY — An Ogden therapist has been ordered to stand trial on charges that he sexually molested two girls during a Dec. 31 stay at a Wasatch County hotel.

On Wednesday, Judge Steven Hansen ruled that there was sufficient probable cause to bind over Brian P. Gomez for trial. Gomez, 40, is charged in 4th District Court with six counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

In a five-page ruling, Hansen noted that he is required by law to view the evidence presented at Gomez's June 18 preliminary hearing "in the light most favorable to the prosecution" unless the evidence presented "falls to a level of inconsistency or incredibility that no reasonable jury could accept it."

"Under this standard, the court finds that the state has presented sufficient evidence for a bindover on each count of the information as charged," Hansen wrote.

During the preliminary hearing, defense attorney Earl Xaiz argued that Gomez did not occupy a position of special trust with the two girls when the alleged abuse occurred — a legal distinction that enhances the charges against him from second-degree felonies to first-degree felonies.

Hansen, however, ruled that Gomez "accepted responsiblity and authority of a caregiver equivalent to that of a baby sitter" when he offered to let three girls ages 12, 11 and 9 sleep in his Wasatch County suite on New Year's Eve with his wife, mother-in-law and children.

The girls stayed in Gomez's suite while their parents, who were longtime friends with Gomez, went back to their own room, according to court records. The father received a text message from one of his daughters about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, stating: "I think Bryan is a pedifile (sic) and I'm kind (of) scared." The father didn't see the text, however, until 8:45 a.m.

The next day, two of the girls told the other adults that Gomez had touched them under their pajamas, charging documents state.

Gomez, a clinical social worker who promotes himself as having expertise in working with children who have autism, continues to maintain his innocence. He agreed to surrender his license to the state while the case against him is pending. As a condition of bail, he is also barred from seeing patients and must wear a GPS tracking device.

Gomez is set to return to court Aug. 6 for arraignment.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

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