Mercury-poisoned child porn suspect quarantined

Wednesday , October 02, 2013 - 2:35 PM

Kenneth William Prince...

Tim Gurrister, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Arraignment of a former teacher and Scout leader on charges of possession of child pornography has been postponed because of continuing high levels of mercury in his system from an apparent suicide attempt.

In a motion granted Wednesday morning, Kenneth William Prince’s attorney, Steve Farr, asked for the postponement because Prince remains in quarantine from the dose of mercury ingested last week. Ogden 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones postponed the arraignment to Oct. 23.

“Defendant poses and continues to pose a risk of contamination to the places he visits,” according to the motion.

Prince, 61, was hospitalized for several days, and now is in “self-imposed quarantine” supervised by the Bear River Health Department, Farr wrote, which recommends it continue another week, possibly two.

The department serves Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties. Prince, of Uintah Highlands, was discovered by police in a Logan home last Thursday, Sept. 26, with a half-empty bottle of mercury and cuts to his head and wrists. Officers said they also found a note in the home in which Prince apologized to his family for trying to take his own life.

South Ogden detectives said they opened a case against Prince after someone came forward with decades-old allegations of abuse against Prince. Investigators said a search of Prince’s home netted sexually explicit photos of young boys. He is charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Since he was charged last week, police say nine men have come forward making allegatins against Prince which are now under investigation.

Prince was a science teacher at South Ogden Junior High School from 1979 to 2008. Prince retired from teaching in 2008. Prince’s teaching license was revoked in 2009 for a lewdness charge and violations of an agreement with a commission that oversees teacher licensing, according to officials with the state Office of Education.

Prince had not been a registered Boy Scout leader since 2003. The organization took steps to ensure he could never again be a Scout leader after being made aware of the “situation” by law enforcement authorities, according to the Boy Scouts’ Trapper Trails Council.

Farr in another motion filed Tuesday argues against prosecutors using the “alleged” suicide attempt as a reason to revoke Prince’s bail.

“Without admitting that defendant actually attempted suicide, even if defendant posed a risk to himself, that is not an exception to the right to bail,” reads the motion.

“The Legislature specifically stated that the accused must be a substantial danger to other people. There is no evidence that defendant is a substantial danger to other people.”

Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at (801)625-4238, tgurrister@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister

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