The 32-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting several women on the University of Utah campus in 2011 pleaded guilty to felony charges Friday.
Gary W. Fotheringham pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to three counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse, third-degree felonies that each carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped two counts of misdemeanor voyeurism.
At a preliminary hearing last year, the alleged victims testified against Fotheringham, detailing Nov. 4, 2011 — a day comprised of a series of escalating sexual assaults.
A U. freshman said she had just finished changing for an on-campus dance class that morning when she saw a man standing with his back against a wall in the dark hallway outside the locker room, peering in. The student said the man later hid in a bathroom stall and, when confronted, said he thought he was in the men’s locker room.
A junior at the university testified that she had just finished studying in a campus building about 4:30 p.m. that day when a man crept up behind her and put his hand between her legs as she bent over to pick up her backpack.
She said she followed the man, demanding answers to questions. As she tailed him, she said, a pair of underwear fell out of his pocket.
Another student also testified, but was unable to identify Fotheringham as the man who assaulted her.
Police have said Fotheringham’s attacks became more serious over the course of that day, culminating about 8:40 p.m., when Fotheringham followed another woman to her car and groped her as she attempted to get inside.
According to charging documents, Fotheringham tried to cover the woman’s mouth with his hand, but she bit his finger. When officers interviewed Fotheringham in this case, the documents state, he had an injury to one of his fingers.
It was not the first time Fotheringham had found himself in trouble with the law over an on-campus incident.
In 2010, University of Utah police arrested Fotheringham for lewdness in a women’s restroom. According to court documents, Fotheringham tried to film a woman in a bathroom stall using his cellphone camera.
Fotheringham has been in custody since his December 2011 arrest.
He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman in early August.
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