FARMINGTON — A local man was led away in handcuffs and sent to prison Friday after pleading guilty in October to molesting several children while he was substitute teaching at a Clearfield elementary school in 2017.

Mark Glenton Bedel, 63, will spend at least the next six years in prison, a Davis County judge ruled Friday morning. Bedel entered into a plea agreement on Oct. 29, 2018, which included entering guilty pleas to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both first-degree felonies.

In return for his plea, the state dismissed six counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies, against Bedel.

He was charged on Oct. 30, 2017, just days after the abuse. Bedel was working as a substitute teacher at Wasatch Elementary School in Clearfield when he molested six boys between the ages of seven and nine at the school. Charging documents detail the abuse, with one child being molested twice the same day while Bedel told the boy “he was his favorite.”

Bedel was present in court Friday, wearing street clothes. He had posted a $50,000 bond and was released from the Davis County Jail on the same day he was arrested, online records show.

Parents of Bedel’s victims read letters to the court, many of them outlining the damage Bedel had caused to their children.

One mother asked the judge to give the harshest possible punishment to Bedel, saying her son has been damaged in ways that can’t be undone. She added that her son is always fearful that Bedel will come find him and kill him.

“He’s not the same boy,” she said. “It’s unbelievably heartbreaking.”

A different mother told the court that months ago she was “petrified” when Bedel walked into a store where she was shopping. She too asked the judge for a lengthy prison sentence for Bedel.

A father of one of Bedel’s victims said that his son can’t use a public restroom without fear that Bedel is nearby, and said he wanted to make it clear just how much pain Bedel has caused to his family.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said that Bedel poses an “unjustifiable public safety risk” and was in favor of the prison sentence recommended by Adult Probation and Parole. He said that prison is the best place for rehabilitating sex offenders.

Bedel’s attorney, Michael Langford, said his client walked into the courtroom knowing full well that it may be the last day of freedom for years, and maybe his life. Langford said that his client is “extremely remorseful” for what he has done, and said that Bedel’s remarks were included in a presentence report submitted to the court.

Langford said that Bedel had been “drinking heavily” on the day of the abuse, which prompted outbursts from the victims’ parents sitting in the gallery. Langford said that information was not a justification, but rather could be interpreted as an explanation. He added that since Bedel has been charged, he’s been taking Alcoholics Anonymous classes and sex therapy classes.

He recognized that his client’s actions not only damaged the young victims, but also compromised public trust in the school system.

Judge John Morris said he can attribute his education and success in a handful of educators in his life, saying teachers are often looked up to and held in high regard. Bedel violated that trust, he said. Morris went on to say that Bedel’s alcohol problem should not be used as a mitigating factor, and instead should be viewed as an aggravating factor.

Ultimately Morris sentenced Bedel to serve two terms of three years to life in prison, and ordered the sentences run consecutively.

Moments after his sentence, Bedel was placed into handcuffs and led away from the courtroom by bailiffs. He will be transferred to the Utah Department of Corrections to begin his prison term.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!