OGDEN — A 30-year-old Roy man was sent to prison Thursday after admitting earlier this year to molesting a 7-year-old boy multiple times.
Wesley David Simonson will spend more than a decade in prison, a judge ruled Thursday afternoon.
In July, Simonson pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; one count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony; and three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies.
In return for his plea, 10 of the 15 charges against him were dropped.
Simonson was present in court Thursday afternoon alongside his attorneys. Brady Stuart, one of his attorneys, argued that Simonson should be given the minimum sentence of 6 years to life, adding that his client has expressed his desire to change and do what he can to get better.
Stuart said that his client reached out to the Utah Department of Corrections to see if he could sign up for sex offender treatment before his sentencing, in anticipation of his stay in prison. The UDOC rejected the request and said he had to wait to be sentenced, Stuart said.
Prosecutor Nicholas Caine rebuffed Stuart’s request for a shorter sentence, and said that Simonson tried to hide his crimes, only admitting to them when he was caught and shown overwhelming evidence against him. Caine added that Simonson took photos of the sexual assault to memorialize the acts.
Caine went on to read information collected by doctors during Simonson’s psychosexual evaluation, saying that he admitted to police that he fantasizes about young children.
Prosecutors requested that the court give Simonson the mandatory minimum for the aggravated sexual abuse of a child charge and sentence him to 15 years to life in prison.
The father of the victim addressed the court during the hearing, saying that his son is doing “amazingly well” despite the circumstances. He said the boy has moved on and forgiven Simonson, adding his son doesn’t have issues dealing with the events.
“I am proud of him for his choices,” the father said. “I tell him every day that he’s my hero.”
The father indicated he has chosen forgiveness and to not harbor hate, because hate only breeds more hate, he said. He told the court that he just hopes Simonson gets the help he needs. His family did not want Simonson to spend the rest of his life in prison, and only asked that the man gets the help he needs.
“Justice for my family has been met,” he said.
With his hands shackled, Simonson approached the podium and addressed the court in a low, soft voice.
“I don’t want to victimize someone else,” he said. “I want to get better.”
Simonson said he is willing to accept his punishment, regardless of what it would be. He told the court that he takes full responsibility for his actions, and wants to move forward.
“I will work the rest of my life to fix what I’ve done,” he said.
Ultimately, Judge Jennifer Valencia agreed with the state’s recommendation, and sentenced Simonson to a term of 15 years to life in prison, with the other charges running concurrently with each other. He was given credit for time served.
Valencia commended the child’s family members for attending the hearing and making the family’s voice heard. She said while Simonson may be regretful, the actions committed are some of the most damaging offenses one can inflict on another.
Simonson will be transferred to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections to start his prison term.