Council shows leniency to cop who struck sexual abuser
He knew he shouldn't have hit the teenager handcuffed on the ground. But when he learned the 15-year-old foster boy he had taken into his home had sexually abused two of his family members, the Weber County sheriff's deputy lost control.
"My family and I have been through the worst hell in the last year and half with this case and it still continues," the deputy said through tears to the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council on Monday.
The council members seated before him weighed how to respond to the deputy, one of 17 law enforcement officers whose discipline cases they considered at Monday's quarterly meeting. He'd pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor child abuse charge and POST investigators recommended a one-year suspension not unusual for an officer with that type of conviction.
The deputy, who the Tribune is not naming to protect the identities of the victims, asked the council for leniency. To remove him from the job he loved, he said, would make things worse for his entire family, still struggling with how to heal from the 2011 ordeal.
Summit County Sheriff David Edmunds, a council member, agreed.
"I think you and your family have been victimized by the system, my friend," he said. "I don't know there if there is anyone who wouldn't have done the same if not much, much worse."
Still, though, a law enforcement uniform carries a high standard, even under the worst of circumstances, said council member Tom Patterson, executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections.
"My heart is going with the officer, but my head is saying we have to preserve the profession," he said. The off-duty deputy used the cuffs on the teen when they fought after he found out about the first victim, age 6, but Patterson said he may have crossed a line when he hit the boy once after learning about the second victim, age 3.
"I do feel like there needs to be something," he said.
In the end, though, leniency won. Despite Patterson's suggestion of a one-month suspension, the council voted to put a letter of caution in the deputy's file about the incident and allow him to continue his career in Weber County.
The council wasn't so lenient in other cases.
• The council revoked the certification of Benjamin Beglarian, a former Draper police officer caught smoking heroin in a police car in August 2011. Beglarian futilely asked the council not to bar him from police work in Utah, explaining that he had gotten addicted to painkillers due to an old injury but kicked the habit after he was caught. He said the drugs he was smoking that night hadn't come from the department's evidence store, but declined to say where he had gotten them.
• Also barred from being a Utah police officer was Mitchell McArthur, who had gone through the police academy but hadn't been hired by a department when he exposed himself to a 9-year-old girl last year.
Also among the 17 were three officers punished for domestic violence, two for using bureau of criminal identification information their department computers to check up on ex-wives or fiances and two for driving under the influence.
Additional disciplined Utah law enforcement officers
R Roy Stephens • Utah Department of Corrections; distribution/possession of a controlled substance; revocation
Andrew P. Amburn • Utah Department of Corrections; leaving scene of an accident; lying to investigators; revocation
Melissa Fritz-Fuller • Iron County Sheriff's Office; unfit for duty; indefinite suspension
Joseph D. Curfew • Ogden City police; assault, domestic violence in presence of a child; 3-year suspension
Glenn Perryman • Utah Department of Corrections; assault domestic violence, intoxication; 3-year suspension
Jeremy R. Workman • not employed; domestic violence assault in presence of a child; 2-year suspension
Brent V. Barnes • West Jordan police; unauthorized use of bureau of criminal identification (BCI) violation; 2-year suspension
Aaron Moon • Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office; interfering with a legal arrest; 1-year suspension
Christopher Fairall • Salt Lake City police; falsification or alteration of a government record; 1-year suspension
Kenneth Marshall • Tooele County Sheriff's Office; DUI; 1-year suspension
Logan M. Heslington • Beaver County Sheriff's Office; DUI; 1-year suspension
Steven Hyatt • Utah Department of Corrections; theft of services; 18-month suspension
Karl Mulitalo • Washington County Sheriff's Office; possession and use of a controlled substance; 9-month suspension
Nicholas A. Riggs • Unified police; BCI information violation; 3-month suspension
Source • Utah POST