SALT LAKE CITY — A former Ogden man had multiple sex abuse charges affirmed by the Utah Court of Appeals on Thursday after he attempted to argue he received ineffective assistance of counsel, among other claims.
Richard Drew Rhodes, 37, was convicted in 2016 on several counts of sexually abusing a child — the second time he had been convicted of molesting a child. A jury found Rhodes guilty of one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and four counts of sodomy of a child, all first-degree felonies.
For his crimes, Rhodes was sentenced to serve over 100 years in a Utah state prison, as each of the sodomy counts carried 25-year sentences each.
Rhodes was arrested after it was discovered he began sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12 in 2013. The boy reportedly told investigators that Rhodes molested him more times than he could count.
According to the appeals court opinion, Rhodes appealed his conviction on several grounds. First, he claimed that the court erred when the decision was made to not admit evidence regarding the boy’s behavior around other children.
Second, Rhodes argued that an interview between the boy and investigators at the Weber-Morgan Children’s Justice Center should not have been used as evidence in the case and should not have been used during the trial.
Lastly, he argued that his lawyer did not provide effective assistance during the trial after failing to call a “helpful defense witness” to testify. He also requested that the case be remanded back to Ogden’s district court for 23B hearings, a set of court dates that would set out to prove whether or not a defense attorney did their job during a criminal proceeding.
In the opinion issued Thursday, the Utah Court of Appeals plainly denied all of Rhodes’ arguments. They ruled that the court did not err when they excluded the boy’s behavior, and the court acted properly when they allowed the child’s interview with CJC investigators into evidence for the trial. The appeals court also found no grounds for the claim of ineffective counsel, affirming all of Rhodes’ convictions.
At the time the charges were filed in 2015, Rhodes had already been a convicted sex offender. In 2003, Rhodes pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony sexual abuse of a child after he was accused of inappropriately touching a boy multiple times in North Salt Lake, according to court records.
He was sentenced to serve at least six months in the Davis County Jail before starting probation. However, Rhodes did not follow his probation and was later ordered to prison and released in 2010.
Today, Rhodes is in the custody of the Utah State Prison to serve his sentence.