Stalking injunction upheld against Utah governor's son
The Utah Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a stalking injunction against Nathan Gary Herbert, son of the state's governor.
When she sought the injunction two years ago, Orem resident Aiona Butters said she feared for her safety after three particular encounters over the course of a year. The incidents began shortly after the expiration of another stalking injunction her sister was granted against Herbert.
"The ensuing sequence of events goes well beyond anything that could possibly be dismissed as a series of coincidental and innocuous incidents," Judge Gregory Orme wrote in Friday's unanimous decision.
In October, Herbert appealed the injunction that a lower court judge granted Butters in 2010. He argued Butters hadn't shown a "course of conduct" directed at her, but the appeals court brushed aside that argument.
"Although he fusses over perceived inconsistencies, credibility issues and contradictory testimony, Herbert has not pointed to any fatal flaw in the evidence," according to the decision. The court also awarded Butters attorney's fees.
Butters' first contact with Herbert was in 2004, when she was shopping with her sister, who had gone on a series of dates with Herbert, the ruling states. They hid in the back of the store to avoid him, but Herbert spotted the women, and her sister told him they were trying to avoid him.
Soon after, Butters spotted Herbert touching himself inappropriately while watching her at the gym.
The contact with him stopped after Butters' sister got her stalking injunction in 2005 but resumed in 2009 two weeks after it expired. In that incident, Herbert sped toward her in a grocery store parking lot, then circled her car after she ran inside.
Three months later, he encountered her in a shopping mall parking lot and stared at her from a short distance away as she packed up the car and left.
Just over a year later, he again confronted her and stared at Butters at the gym, according to Friday's ruling.
Herbert's father, Gary Herbert, took over as Utah governor following the resignation of Jon Huntsman Jr. in 2009. He was elected the following year to serve the remainder of Huntsman's term and was re-elected this month.