Thursday , July 31, 2014 - 8:26 PM
OGDEN — The courtroom fell silent Thursday morning as a victim of sexual abuse spoke to the judge and a large audience.
“Since I’m the one that turned him in, I just don’t feel safe – I just want that to be known, that I don’t feel safe,” said one of two victims through her tears at Joseph Ray Rogers’ sentencing hearing in 2nd District Court.
Judge Michael DiReda comforted her, saying that the abuser would not be allowed to live in a halfway house. “It’s not going to happen,” he said.
DiReda then granted the motion made by the state and sentenced Rogers, 48, to an indeterminate term of six years to life in the Utah State Prison for sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony. Rogers was also sentenced to an indeterminate term of five years to life in the state prison for aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. The sentences will run concurrently.
Rogers’ arrest came when Victim No. 1 told authorities years later about her sexual interactions with Rogers when she was between the ages of 6 and 7. Victim No. 2, an older female who now lives in Virginia, provided statements that attested to similar relations with the man. The offenses were reported to have occurred between the years 1997 and 1999.
“Not a single day goes by that I don’t remember something (from that time) in vivid detail,” Victim No. 2, now 24, wrote in a letter to the court read aloud by the court’s victim advocate.
At age 17, Victim No. 2 wrote a note on an index card, also read aloud in court:
“This Christmas I hate life ... I’m putting all my Christmas spirit into words.” It mentioned how she looks to God for help.
DiReda stared at Rogers, who stood completely still.
“I have no understanding at all how an individual, such as yourself, can commit the types of sexual offenses that you did,” DiReda told Rogers.
Rogers was arrested Nov. 4on four counts of sodomy on a child and one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. He pleaded not guilty in December. On June 5, he entered guilty pleas to two charges, and three were dismissed.
DiReda concluded: “You can apologize until you leave this earthly existence, but the reality is that the memories of those experiences - the pain that is associated with them - that’s never going to go away.
”These crimes are terrible crimes. ... (They) rank right up there to crimes that involve the taking of a life.”
Contact reporter Morgan Briesmaster at 801-625-4268 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SE_mbriesmaster. Like her Facebook page at http://facebook.com/SEMorganBriesmaster.
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