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Summit County Attorney Upset At Sentence Handed Down To Sex Offender

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Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson says her office is very distressed at the light sentence handed down last week to a convicted sex offender.

She says it was heartbreaking and disturbing that a Utah County man who abused a 12-year-old Summit County girl was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 10 years on probation.

The defendant’s attorney, however, said his client was a one-time offender who was taking responsibility for his actions and was fully cooperative with the directives from police and the court.

In a statement to KPCW, County Attorney Olson said that the perpetrator, Tyler Austin Erickson, a Provo resident, came up to this area in late December 2019 with the sole purpose of having sex with the 12-year-old victim and attempting to impregnate her.

According to the criminal information, Erickson used a messaging app to make contact with the girl.  The two went into a shed and disrobed.     Erickson was caught by the girl’s grandmother.

Erickson, now 22 years old, pled Guilty to Attempted Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child and Enticing a Minor.  The County Attorney and a pre-sentence report from the state’s Adult Probation and Parole recommended prison time.

But Third District Court Judge Richard Mrazik suspended the prison sentences—of three years to Life for the first offense; and 1 to 15 years for the second offense.

In her statement, Olson said the sentence sends the message to Erickson and his victim that the crime was not that serious.  The community, she said, is left to think that first-degree sex offenses against children will not be punished commensurate with the serious nature of the crime.  And sex offenders will think they can come to Summit County and victimize children.

In his statement to the court, Erickson said he had done a horrible thing.

“That night is a horrible night that’s lived in my memory, and I want more than anything—I want that gone.  I wish I could go back and change it, as the horrible thing that I did, that I have no real excuse, cause it happened.   I just knew that I don’t want to ever do that again.  I don’t want to ever go through that whole process again.  It’s completely flipped my life around, put everything I had going on pause.  And I really do just kinda get that going again, and get everything back to a somewhat normal basis.”

Before passing sentence, Judge Mrazik said he had to look at the aggravating vs. the mitigating circumstances in the case.  He said there was no reliable evidence of aggravating factors.

“The Court cannot consider as aggravating factors the underlying facts that prove the crime.  That’s not legal.  The crime is very serious.  The effects of the crime are very, very serious.  But I cannot consider those facts as aggravating factors.  In addition to those facts, there are no aggravating factors in the record before me today.”

But the Judge said there were mitigating factors.  Erickson had no criminal history; he had been 100 percent compliant after his arrest; he had committed no new offenses; and had entered treatment of his own accord.

The Judge also directed Erickson to serve a 20-day sentence in installments of two days a weekend, from Saturday night to Monday night.   Judge Mrazik said that would allow him to continue in his job, which is important for his rehabilitation.

“I find that spending 10 weekends with the Summit County Jail will recognize the severe nature of this crime, and at least signal to the community that the criminal justice system takes it very seriously.”

He also said the conditions of Erickson’s probation are onerous and critical.  Those include completing sex offender therapy, having no contact with the victim or youngsters under 18 without supervision, and not possessing salacious material.”

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