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(Teresa Lee Cope. Courtesy photo)
Treatment center director arrested for sexually abusing teen

First Published Apr 28 2014 09:59 pm • Last Updated Apr 28 2014 10:59 pm

A woman who directed a center for teenagers with sexual behavior problems is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old client.

Teresa Lee Cope, 34, of Springville was arrested last week on suspicion of felony sex crimes in connection to reports that the boy had been abused while at Birdseye Residential Treatment Center in Spanish Fork Canyon. Birdseye advertises itself as a program "for sexual behavioral problems and pornography addiction."

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The teen recently told his parents about sexual encounters that allegedly occurred about a year ago, said Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon. Cannon would not describe the encounters except to say Cope required the teen to perform some sex acts, and "some she did to him."

The alleged acts took place over a one-month time, both inside the treatment center and in Springville and Spanish Fork, during off-site activities, Cannon said.

Cope "would create circumstances that were conducive to her being able to do this," Cannon said. "She would manipulate circumstances in her favor so she could accomplish these things she wanted to do."

The teen’s parents reported his claims to the state Department of Child and Family Services. Investigators found evidence in Cope’s home that supported the teen’s claims, including "electronic evidence" and "clothing items," Cannon said.

The teen also reported an encounter at a Washington County youth facility, which authorities there are investigating separately, Cannon said.

Cope had not been charged as of Monday night.

ealberty@sltrib.com


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