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Charges related to mercury suicide attempt dropped against Utah man

First Published      Last Updated Jul 10 2014 08:39 pm

A former teacher and Boy Scout leader who was sent to prison in May for child porn had charges associated with a failed suicide attempt dismissed against him last week.

The day after Kenneth William Prince was arrested last September on suspicion of possessing child pornography, the former science teacher bailed out of jail and tried to kill himself by ingesting mercury, according to police.

After that suicide attempt, he was charged in 1st District Court with misdemeanor reckless endangerment and use or possession of a psychotoxic chemical. The attempt also delayed Prince's initial court appearance in the child porn case because health officials recommended he be quarantined to prevent the risk of contaminating others with mercury poisoning, according to court documents.

A judge sentenced Prince, 61, to five consecutive 1-to-15 year prison terms in May after he pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor. Last week, prosecutors in Cache County asked for their case to be dismissed because Prince is already serving a lengthy prison term.

During his May sentencing, prosecutors portrayed him as a sexually deviant man who took pictures of nude Boy Scouts during camping trips over a 30-year period, while defense attorneys instead told of a man who was a great teacher and leader, whose own abuse experiences and mental health issues caused him to struggle with his sexual identity.

Prince had also been charged in Ogden's 2nd District Court with first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child, but that case was dismissed as part of a plea deal.

In that case, the alleged abuse victim, now 42 years old, told a South Ogden police officer that Prince performed sexual acts on him multiple times when he was between 12 and 17 years old, according to a probable cause statement filed in court.

Prince admitted to that abuse, and admitted to having a number of child pornography images on his home computer — found after family members contacted police in September.

Prince was employed as a teacher at South Ogden Junior High School from 1979 to 2008. Police said he also had been a Boy Scout leader for many years in the South Ogden area.


Twitter: @jm_miller