Assault charge against former Utah Farm Bureau president for allegedly hitting farmworker is dismissed — for now

Former Utah Farm Bureau president Ron Gibson was accused of assaulting a farm worker in August.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ron Gibson speaks in Cedar City in October 2021.

A misdemeanor assault charge against the former Utah Farm Bureau president has been dismissed — although it may only be temporary.

Court records show the class B misdemeanor assault charge filed last month against Ron Gibson, 50, was dismissed on Aug. 31 without prejudice, meaning the case can be refiled if prosecutors choose to.

Gibson was arrested Aug. 8 when members of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office were told Gibson had hit a worker on his farm. Deputies viewed a video that depicted Gibson telling the man in Spanish to “shut up” before hitting him in the face, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Gibson’s case.

Shortly after Gibson’s arrest, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release saying Gibson was also under investigation for “allegations of fraud and human trafficking.”

In the Aug. 31 court filing, the Hooper City Attorney wrote the alleged assault had taken place in unincorporated Weber County, not Hooper, meaning the city didn’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute the case. Because of this, the case would fall to the Weber County Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Chris Allred, the Weber County Attorney, said in an email Friday to The Salt Lake Tribune there was initial confusion with jurisdiction, but now his office’s justice court prosecutor has the case for screening.

“My understanding is that (the State Bureau of Investigation) and the (Utah Attorney General’s Office) are also looking at the incident for possible charges related to the alleged assault,” Allred said in an email. “Our justice court prosecutor is communicating with them as he determines the next steps.”

Gibson’s attorney, Steven Burton, told The Tribune he believes information given to state investigators is incorrect, and both he and his client hope the screening process will result in prosecutors declining to file charges.

“But only the Weber County Attorney’s Office can decide whether to prosecute,” Burton said Friday.

Shortly after his arrest, Gibson began a “leave of absence” from the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, where he served as president since 2015, and issued an apology for his conduct.

Days later, Gibson resigned from both the Utah Farm Bureau and from his position on the board of directors for the American Farm Bureau Federation.