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Former Utah teacher sentenced to two prison terms for sex abuse

Published May 28, 2013 10:57 am

Prosecutor says man lacking "moral conscience" preyed on several boys, may face more charges.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Heber • He was a "master groomer," a man who used his position as an educator for more than 40 years to gain the trust of young boys so he could use them for sexual gratification.

Because Charles Edward Weber held that position of trust, 4th District Judge Lynn Davis sentenced the former Soldier Hollow Charter School principal to the maximum sentence for his crimes: 10 years to life in prison.

Weber, 66, was originally charged in Wasatch County's 4th District Court with six counts of first-degree felony sodomy. In April, he accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to two of the charges, while the remaining four were dismissed.

Davis sentenced Weber to five years to life on each count, and ruled the sentences will run consecutively.

Weber had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old between January and April of 2012. The teen was formerly a student at Soldier Hollow Charter School, where Weber was a principal when the abuse occurred. He was fired in August.

Court papers say authorities launched their investigation last fall after a 48-year-old man contacted police to report he had been sexually abused by Weber between 1975 and 1977. The man, who is not identified in court papers, was then 11 years old and a student in Weber's class, court papers said.

Defense attorney Dana Facemyer asked the judge Tuesday to allow Weber to serve his sentence with at-home probation because his extensive medical issues — including sleep apnea, kidney failure, arthritis, thyroid issues and diabetes — would make him a costly inmate at the state prison.

Weber's attorney also asked for the sentences to run concurrently, since the offenses involved only one victim and he had no other criminal history.

But Deputy Wasatch County Attorney McKay King said that while Weber has no previous convictions, evidence showed that his grooming of, and inappropriate conduct towards, young boys that he mentored as an educator spanned his 40-year career.

"Mr. Weber was a master manipulator and a master groomer...he does have a vast array of prior perpetrations," King said in court Tuesday.

King described how Weber used his position as an educator to get close to young boys. He offered help or special services to boys in need, according to King. Weber then would allegedly ask the boys for sexual favors in exchange for the help they received.

King alleged that the sexual abuse ranged from fondling the boys' genitals to anal and oral sex.

During Weber's stay in the Wasatch County jail, King said, he allegedly propositioned a young adult male after offering him educational assistance and help when the man was released from jail.

"He has no moral conscience for the crimes that he committed," King said.

The victim did not address the court Tuesday, as a special effort was made to keep the teen anonymous.

Weber spoke briefly in court, offering no apology but saying that contrary to his pre-sentence report, he is remorseful for the crimes.

"I expressed great remorse that that had happened," he said.

Weber's pleas for probation were upsetting for Julia Lowe, a distant relative of the victim and a former employee of the charter school who attended the sentencing.

"To use [his medical history] to distance himself from what he has done, to make it seem like we need to take care of him, that's sick," she said outside of court. "I would have liked to hear remorse."

Lowe said she was disappointed that no representative from the charter school was present at Tuesday's sentencing. Former student Josh Davis, who has attended several of Weber's court appearances, said he also was disappointed that no one from his former school was there.

"I think the school really should be here to show support," he said. "It's very disappointing. It's a hard time for victims."

King said outside of court that Weber had groomed dozens of students throughout his career, but it is unknown how many of those interactions rose to a criminal level. He said his office is talking with two other alleged victims, and further charges could be filed against Weber.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller