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Utah therapist sent to prison for having sex with teen client

Published March 10, 2014 7:23 pm

Courts • Centerville man will serve 1 to 15 years for 2013 crime.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Farmington • A Centerville therapist was sent to prison Monday for having sex with a teenage client.

Scott Andrew Peterson, 36, of Bountiful, will serve one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison after pleading guilty in January to one count of forcible sex abuse for having "sexual relations" with a teenage girl who was receiving therapy from him at Therapy on the Fly in Centerville.

The girl and her family attended Monday's sentencing in Farmington's 2nd District Court, but declined to address the court.

Judge John Morris called Peterson's conduct "utterly reprehensible" and declined to suspend the prison term, as Peterson's lawyer had asked.

"You can't un-ring the bell," Morris said.

According to charging documents, Peterson, a licensed clinical social worker, began engaging in sexual conduct with his then-16-year-old client in March of last year. The "relations" continued until August, when Peterson's Main Street business closed.

Authorities discovered the inappropriate relationship when the teenager confided in her bishop about the alleged abuse and the legal department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints notified police.

Peterson has remained in custody since his November arrest — a choice his lawyer, Tara Isaacson, said he made voluntarily.

"There were a lot of positive things that Mr. Peterson did that I was hoping would persuade [the judge] not to impose prison time," Isaacson said. "He obviously felt incredibly guilty and wanted to start the punishment process."

Peterson, who will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim and her family, was originally charged with first-degree felony sodomy, three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and one count of class B misdemeanor lewdness.

The additional charges were dropped in a plea arrangement with prosecutors.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae