OGDEN — The defense is seeking to lower the $240,000 bail for an accused child sex offender.
Second District Judge Ernie Jones set a March 6 hearing for defense attorney Jason Richards’ motion, filed Wednesday to reduce Scott Ray McMurray’s bail.
The motion describes the unusually high bail as unconstitutionally excessive.
McMurray, 58, has been in jail since his Jan. 14 arrest by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. McMurray was a sixth-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School in Ogden, but sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Mark Lowther said the three alleged victims are not his students. Ogden School District, where McMurray has been employed for 16 years, placed him on administrative leave when he was arrested.
He is charged with 11 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and three counts of sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies.
Charging documents say McMurray confessed to the allegations involving illicit sexual contact with two of the children over six months, one of them on multiple occasions.
“Defendant has no criminal history and has strong roots in the community,” according to the defense motion. “He has lived his entire life in the Northern Utah area and has many friends and family members that he would be able to stay with upon his release.” The motion suggests a bail of $10,000.
Richards writes that McMurray understands a protective order in place since he was formally charged bans him from any contact with the alleged victims or their family members.
“Furthermore, prior to being charged with these crimes, defendant voluntarily entered into a safety plan with Child Protective Services where he agreed to not contact, or attempt to contact, any of the alleged victims or their families.”
The case was originally reported to the sheriff’s office by the state Division of Child and Family services, according to charging documents.
“A bond of $240,000 is simply not feasible for the defendant or his family,” Richards writes. “Neither the defendant nor his family has $25,000 in cash to pay a bail bondsman to obtain a bond.”