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Sentencing delayed for former Utah deputy in federal strip search case

Published June 20, 2013 12:06 pm

Courts • U.S. judge orders evaluation of man, who also faces state sentencing.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A federal judge on Thursday delayed sentencing for a former Box Elder County sheriff's deputy accused of conducting unlawful strip searches of women during traffic stops until he undergoes a psycho-sexual evaluation.

U.S. District Judge David Sam said he wanted to see the report before sentencing Scott R. Womack, who pleaded guilty in May to two counts of violating the constitutional rights of two women he stopped on alleged traffic violations and then ordered to expose parts of their bodies. He faces a potential penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop six other counts as part of the plea agreement.

Sam reset sentencing for Womack, who is not in custody, for Aug. 12 at 10:30 a.m.

"We were all prepared to see him walk out of here in handcuffs," said Margie Tafoya, mother of victim Tamsen Reid, who was a minor when she was stopped by Womack. "This is another delaying tactic … we're disappointed."

The postponement is likely to trigger a third delay in Womack's state court sentencing, which is currently scheduled for July 3. First District Judge Kevin Allen agreed to wait until Womack was sentenced in federal court so he could "mirror" that penalty, as agreed to by state prosecutors in a plea deal with Womack. The judge could set that sentence to run consecutively or concurrently with the federal prison term.

In state court, Womack, 37, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of custodial sexual misconduct and attempted custodial misconduct. Nine other charges were dropped as part of the state plea deal.

In the federal case, Womack admitted falsely telling a woman he stopped in October 2010 that he pulled her over on an insurance violation. After she provided proof of insurance, Womack falsely told the woman there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest.

He then told the woman that if she showed him her tattoos, he could verify she was not the wanted person; otherwise, he would arrest her. The woman undid her pants and partially removed her clothing to expose her lower back and pelvic area. Womack released her without issuing any citation.

He used a similar ruse in July 2011 to get another woman to partially undress. In that case, the woman partially exposed her lower back and stomach but refused to undo her pants or lower her shirt despite being ordered to by Womack. She was released without a citation.

Womack also faces three civil lawsuits in federal court; those lawsuits also name Box Elder County Sheriff J. Lynn Yeates and the county as defendants.

Attorney Alyson Carter, who with attorney Robert Skyes represents two victims who have filed civil cases, said Thursday the postponements are "delaying him going to jail, delaying justice for the victims and delaying moving forward with the civil cases."

brooke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Brooke4Trib