Cedar City sandwich shop manager charged in rape of a 17-year-old employee

(Photo courtesy Iron County Sheriff's Office) Joshua Michael Downard has been charged with raping a 17-year-old he supervised at a Cedar City sandwich shop.

A manager at a Cedar City sandwich shop is accused of twice raping a 17-year-old girl he supervised — the second rape allegedly occurring 10 days after police began their investigation.

Joshua Michael Downard, 35, of Cedar City, has been charged with two counts of rape, first-degree felonies; forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.

According to court documents, Downard took the girl to a “remote location” in early April and raped her, then told her “that if she told anyone he would use his gun to kill her sisters.” The girl said she “feared for her own safety;” that Downard “would continually remind her that she would not be believed;” and that “he was willing to cause her and her family harm.”

The girl returned to work at the Jimmy John’s at 1001 W. 200 North in Cedar City, where Downard "is her immediate supervisor and runs the store,” because she was fearful of what would happen if she did not, documents said. It was because of “the continual threat of violence toward her that he was able to manipulate the situation for it to continue,” said Cedar City Police Detective Dustin Orton. “Her age plays a part in that. Her life experiences. And the fact that she had fear for herself and her family.”

Downard allegedly groped her and continued to threaten her, displaying his handgun and “patting where it was concealed in his waistband,” documents said. He allegedly took her to a campsite near Brian Head on or about Aug. 18 and, ignoring her protests, raped her again, documents said.

He also allegedly continued to threaten to harm her and her family if she “disclosed that their relationship was anything other than consensual.”

The investigation began on Aug. 8 when Cedar City police responded to a report of domestic violence at Downard’s home and his wife told officers he had admitted having sex with a 17-year-old employee.

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