Sex abuse alleged at Utah youth home
A September trial date has been set for a man accused of sexually abusing two 14-year-old girls at a group home for troubled teens in Spanish Fork.
Charges filed in 4th District Court allege that Wade Russell, 60, committed the crimes while employed at Extended Family Services.
One girl said that on Nov. 3, 2013, her third night at EFS, Russell went into her room, lay down next to her bed and fondled her over her clothing, according to charging documents. She said she knew of another girl who also had been abused.
Security camera footage from that time shows Russell's feet "sticking out of the doorway as if he is lying down," court documents claim. The girl's roommate confirmed that Russell was lying close to the victim, prosecutors say.
The other victim said Russell sexually abused her on multiple occasions after she arrived at EFS in June 2013. She said that on Nov. 2, Russell asked her to join him in the laundry room because he could turn off the lights and escape the security cameras. Video from outside the laundry room allegedly shows Russell entering the laundry room and turning off the lights before the girl followed him inside.
She claimed that Russell molested her then, and later the same day in her room.
The second victim said Russell also used his cell phone to show her pornography.
A job evaluation for Russell by EFS in August shows he was told not to have "any contact with female residents alone or out of the view of the camera," and that he was told to stop "hugging the young girls," according to charges.
Charging documents do not indicate why those instructions were given.
Russell denied to police touching either of the girls sexually and said the events recorded on camera amounted only to poor judgment on his part. When asked for his cell phone to search its browser history, he said he lost the phone, police reported.
Russell is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and one count each of forcible sodomy, sodomy of a child and attempted rape of a child, all first-degree felonies; and seven counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse; and two counts of third-degree felony dealing in material harmful to a minor.