Ex-BYU professor charged with sexual abuse

Michael James Clay, a former associate professor at BYU, was charged on Thursday with sexually abusing a former student.

According to documents from 4th District Court, Clay, who lives in Springville, is charged with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, which is a second-degree felony. Clay is the former head of BYU’s Urban and Regional Planning program in the geography department.

According to court documents, during a meeting with Clay, the woman said she told him she “was having some emotional difficulties.”

Clay and the woman met more than 20 times in his office, at which time he would play “meditation music” and “told the victim that his office was a safe place and that she should not tell anyone what went on there,” the charges read.

According to BYU Police, Clay also told the woman to delete the text messages he would send her.

Sometime between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, Clay drove the woman up a canyon in Utah County and touched the woman’s buttocks over her clothing, the charges said.

During a meeting in February in Clay’s office, Clay had the woman straddle his lap, according to the charges.