Logan • Eight years after Rae Edwards went to police accusing a then-Utah State University football player of sexual assault, a judge on Wednesday sentenced Torrey Green to three years to life in prison.
The ruling concluded Green’s final Utah sexual assault case, both of which stemmed from allegations from 2013 to 2015, when he attended Utah State University. In the case involving six other women, Green was convicted in 2019 of five counts of rape and one count each of object rape, forcible sexual abuse and sexual battery.
But the circumstances of Rae Edwards’ case were different enough — Edwards knew Green prior to the alleged assault, and they weren’t alone when she says it happened — that prosecutors tried her case separately.
Green in 2016 was initially charged with rape in Edwards’ case. On Wednesday, Green entered an Alford plea, and as part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to an amended, lesser charge of attempted rape. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict.
Despite that, Edwards said outside the courtroom Wednesday that she felt “amazing” to have the weight of the case lifted. Green’s sentence will run consecutively to the 26-years-to-life sentence Green has already been serving, 1st District Judge Brian Cannell ruled.
‘Waiting this long was so awful for me’
Edwards said Green raped her in his apartment during a party on Nov. 21, 2015, days before Thanksgiving. She initiated a kiss in his bedroom, Edwards said, but didn’t consent to sex.
She was the fourth woman that year who told Logan police that Green had sexually assaulted them, but her case and others languished as the police department failed to to thoroughly investigate the accusations.
Authorities reopened the cases after a 2016 investigation by The Salt Lake Tribune. Twenty women ultimately accused Green of sexual assault, though prosecutors only filed charges in Edwards’ case and that of the six other women whose case was first adjudicated.
Although Edwards reported the assault to police hours after she said it happened, she had to wait until Green’s first trial ended — and through the conclusion of its lengthy appeals process — before proceeding with her own. Then the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered Utah courts, and her case was further delayed.
Wednesday’s change of plea hearing ensured her case would never make it to trial. But Edwards was still able to tell Green how the alleged assault impacted her in a statement prior to Green’s sentencing.
Her trauma wasn’t limited to night she says Green assaulted her, she said. It’s presented itself in a myriad of moments since: panic attacks at work and parties when he saw Green or someone who looked like him; losing friends who’d initially supported her; the paranoia of worrying when she might see Green again; her grades faltering; the agony of telling her parents that Green sexually assaulted her; the resentment she felt when, months after the reported attack, she became pregnant, and her cramping pains echoed the pain she felt the day she went to police.
“I just wanted to make sure that, after eight years, [the statement] was everything I needed to say. Every moment, anything awful that happened to me,” Edwards said, “and I wanted it to sink in for other people, because waiting this long was so awful for me.”
‘A danger to society’
Interim Cache County Attorney Dane Murray argued for Green’s Wednesday sentence to run consecutively, rather than concurrently, to Green’s 2019 sentence. Murray called Green a “danger to society” and said he’d remain one “as long as he’s alive, in my opinion.”
Green’s defense attorney, Michael McGinnis, requested that the sentence run concurrently, saying Green had been a “model prisoner” who was entering a plea to a lesser charge and “didn’t make the victim go through a trial.”
Before Cannell announced his decision, he said that sometimes, the wheels of justice move “painfully slow” and sympathized that Edwards had to wait so long for justice.
“I’m hopeful for the survivor to find joy in her life,” Cannell said, calling the sentence — the maximum for such a charge — “as much as I can do.”
Cannell briefly mentioned that he wasn’t cynical enough to believe Green could not change. But otherwise, the judge said he wanted to focus his statements on Edwards.
Green, who appeared in court shackled and wearing a white jumpsuit, declined to make a statement to the court, and spoke only when answering procedural questions about his plea change. He was surrounded by about a dozen other defendants in the jury box and looked ahead as Edwards gave her statement in the courtroom.
After the hearing Wednesday, Edwards beamed through teary eyes as she said it felt good to tell her story without the scrutiny and pressure of cross-examination — and finally be done with this case.
“I think that was exactly what I needed,” she said, adding that she was disappointed Green didn’t “take responsibility” but wasn’t surprised.
“He will be in there for 29-years-to-life,” she said. “So that’s enough for me.”