BRIGHAM CITY — Scott Womack was arraigned Wednesday on three of six cases pending in four different courts alleging official misconduct with sexual overtones while he was a Box Elder County Sheriff’s deputy.
Charges against the 36-year-old Womack involve six different victims and include three counts of attempted custodial sexual misconduct, and single counts of lewdness and unlawful detention.
Wednesday’s arraignment was followed by a chorus of no comments from Box Elder County officials.
All said they couldn’t talk because of a federal lawsuit filed against Womack by two of his victims that also names the county.
The two plaintiffs in the federal suit say Womack pulled them over in traffic stops and coerced them into disrobing on the pretext of checking for tattoos.
He claimed he had an out-of-state warrant with their names on it, which he needed to verify by a tattoo supposedly listed in the warrant.
One woman was frightened enough to completely undress in his patrol car, according to the suit, but balked when he said he had to check for vaginal piercings.
One county official speaking anonymously Wednesday did note that after the federal lawsuit made the news last fall other women came forward with similar stories about abuse by Womack.
Womack will be arraigned again April 23 on the most serious charge, felony custodial sexual conduct with a minor, which alleges the victim was groped by Womack Nov. 20, 2010, according to court records. The rest of the charges are misdemeanors, with the events alleged to have occurred from July to November 2010.
No official would comment on the record about any of the allegations except Tremonton City Attorney Dustin Ericson.
He would only say the single count of official misconduct his office filed against Womack “involved improper interaction with a motorist during a traffic stop in Tremonton.”
Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Sheriff Kevin Potter said an internal affairs investigation by his office ended at the first sign of possible criminal conduct and the investigation of Womack was turned over to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
The results of that investigation were then turned over to the various prosecutors, Potter said, not his office. Weber Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Mark Lowther has deferred any comment to the various prosecutors.
Box Elder County Attorney Steve Hadfield said his office has stayed out of the case, assigning an outside attorney to screen the charges.
“Initially it was a conflict of interest for us because he was a county employee,” Hadfield said.
“Then, after he was fired, when the federal suit was filed it became a conflict because anything we do with the criminal charges could be construed as an attempt for an advantage against the federal suit.”
Brigham City Attorney Michael Christiansen got the nod as the conflict prosecutor, filing the three cases in the Box Elder County Justice Court for which Womack was arraigned Wednesday. He also filed the felony case pending April 23 in 1st District Court.
In talking to reporters after Wednesday’s hearing, he would only say the four cases involved four separate incidents.
As he declined comment, Womack was cordial with reporters afterward, smiling and shaking hands. A public defender, Brittany Brown, was appointed to represent him.
Justice Court Judge Kevin Christensen told Womack his next court appearance would be scheduled through Brown’s office, then recused himself from the case, citing a conflict of interest he didn’t specify. He’s also recused himself from the Tremonton case, where he sits as that city’s Justice Court judge.
“That’s probably because he’s a county employee,” Hadfield said of Christensen’s possible conflict.
The Garland case is pending without date. Calls this week to Garland City Attorney Kelly Smith for comment were not returned.