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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's son fighting stalking injunction

Published October 3, 2012 3:39 pm

Courts • Nathan Herbert's attorney argued his client didn't know he was bothering woman.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Nathan Herbert, Gov. Gary Herbert's son, is fighting a stalking injunction an Orem woman obtained against him in 2010.

Aiona Butters requested the civil injunction against Herbert, claiming he stalked her at the library and gym, and inappropriately touched himself while watching her. But Herbert's attorney, Michael Petro, argued in the Utah Court of Appeals last week that there was insufficient cause for the injunction.

A stalking injunction requires a certain course of conduct — two or more actions directed at a specific person. Petro argued that it was only during the last encounter between Butters and Herbert that she indicated he was bothering her. He contended that each episode should be considered on its own merits.

"Nobody said anything to Mr. Herbert, and these acts in and of themselves are not egregious to the point that they create a course of conduct and create emotional distress," Petro said.

But Butters' attorney, Stephen Quesenberry, argued that while any single incident might be innocuous, it can become threatening in the context of other acts and should be considered cumulatively.

In 2005, Butters' older sister obtained a similar injunction against Herbert. On one occasion, near Brigham Young University, Herbert allegedly blocked the older sister's car, jumped from his own vehicle and choked her, according to the women's father, Bob Weingarten.

Two weeks after that restraining order expired, Herbert circled the parking lot of a Smith's where Butters was parked, Quesenberry said. That was followed by more encounters every couple months, with Herbert's conduct becoming more direct, which is beyond coincidence, he said.

"When that guy driving the car is the one who choked your sister, and stared at you and touched his penis while you were working out, it adds a whole different element and that's where cumulative comes in," Quesenberry said.

It's a classic stalking case, he said.

Quesenberry said the restraining order expires in November of next year, unless the appeals court ends it sooner.

mmcfall@sltrib.com