PROVO -- A rape victim sued Utah County, its sheriff's office and two companies associated with a jail work-release program, claiming they failed to properly supervise an inmate who attacked her on the Provo River Trail.
Shawn Michael Leonard, 35, was sentenced in July to life in prison for the 2010 attack. He pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping.
The victim, then 19, was beaten unconscious with a rock and a concrete block and had to crawl for help. The Associated Press does not typically name individuals who are victims of sexual assaults.
Police linked Leonard to the crime after finding his jail-issued ankle bracelet near the scene. Evidence showed he had walked away from a work-release program before the attack.
Filed in Provo's 4th District Court on Sept. 19, the lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified financial damages. Named as defendants are Utah County, the sheriff's office, Intermountain Staffing, and Universal Industrial Sales Inc.
The lawsuit contends Leonard was improperly screened and should not have been allowed to participate in a jail work-release program because he had an extensive criminal history and had been previously incarcerated at the Utah State Prison.
Court papers also state the jail industries program, operated by Universal Industrial Sales, violated state and federal law when it failed to quickly notify authorities that Leonard had walked away from the program.
A representative answering the phone at Lindon-based Universal Industrial Sales on Friday said the company had no comment on the lawsuit and declined to give her name.
No one was immediately available to comment at the North Salt Lake headquarters of Intermountain Staffing, and a message left for the Utah County sheriff's office public information officer was not returned.
Peter Stirba, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Utah County, had no immediate comment.
The lawsuit says Leonard walked away from the program on June 8, 2010. The attack on the victim occurred the next day.
Court records say Leonard demanded money from the woman and choked her before he beat and raped her. At the time of the attack, police said the woman was left with a severe head injury, broken facial bones and a broken jaw.
"Defendants behavior is reprehensible, callous, reckless, extreme, and demonstrates a complete disregard of the safety and rights of plaintiff," the lawsuit reads. "Such behavior cannot be tolerated in civilized society."