Former GOP leader jailed for groping women
Nearly six years after being arrested for groping three women, former Republican leader Ozwald Balfour was ordered to spend 90 days in jail and undergo a psychosexual evaluation.
Third District Judge Ann Boyden sentenced Balfour, 56, of South Jordan, to the jail time Friday for three class A misdemeanors of sexual battery.
One of the victims said Friday she wishes the sentence would have been longer, but thought being in jail during the holiday season added to the punishment.
"I'm glad he is going to be gone for the holidays," the victim said. "Because I know how hard it is to be away from your family during [Thanksgiving and Christmas]."
Before the sentencing, one of the victims said, "I will never forget. He has ruined my life. I am scared forever."
Charging documents state Balfour grabbed the women's breasts, or tried to, over their clothing during January 2005 interviews for acting jobs at the office of his Salt Lake City media production company.
As part of sentence, Balfour will also undergo a psychosexual evaluation, and, if recommended after the evaluation, treatment for sex offenders. But he is not required to register as a sex offender. Balfour also was ordered to pay the costs for any necessary counseling for the victims.
The initial felony charges were reduced after a plea deal in September, when Balfour pleaded no-contest. He said Friday he entered a plea to avoid extending the case further into a trial and "it was an offering on my part."
Balfour maintained he was not disputing the facts, but was not admitting guilt. A no-contest plea is treated the same by the courts as a guilty plea. The defense attorney asked that the case be closed and no jail time ordered because the five years Balfour had spent so far involved in the case had been punishment enough.
Two of the three women who appeared for sentencing said their self-confidence and trust have been affected because of the incident and hoped Balfour would get jail time and therapy.
The maximum sentence for the class A misdemeanor is 12 months. However, Boyden concluded a 90-day sentence was appropriate for Balfour.
At the time of his arrest in early 2005, Balfour was a Republican party leader and hosted a weekly current affairs program on K-TALK Radio. In 2003, he helped found the Utah Republican Black Assembly.