Former Utah teacher charged with raping a 14-year-old student

Mount Nebo Junior High student reported the teacher in November.

(Photo courtesy of the Utah County jail) Zachary Kent Denison has been charged with four counts of rape.

A former Payson junior high teacher and coach is facing charges of rape after he allegedly had sex multiple times with a 14-year-old girl who was his student.

Zachary Kent Denison, 28, has been charged in 4th District Court with four counts of rape, a first-degree felony.

According to a probable cause statement, the victim reported the sex offense on Nov. 29. Denison, who was then a teacher Mount Nebo Junior High, first had sex with the 14-year-old in a vehicle in Payson Canyon in February 2019. The document says he continued to assault her at least once a month and “up to several times a month” for more than a year at “various locations in Utah County” — including both Denison’s home and the victim’s home.

Denison moved to Colorado for a job as a teacher and coach at Berthoud High School — he was named that school’s boys basketball coach in October — but “would travel back to Utah occasionally where he would assault the child by having sexual intercourse with her.”

According to police, Denison told them he “initiated contact with one of his students” while he was a teacher at Mount Nebo Junior High when he was 26 and she was 14, and he was both her teacher and her coach.

Denison is being held without bail in the Utah County jail.