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Front Page » July 25, 2002 » Local News » Former pastor charged with sexually victimizing children
Published 4,290 days ago

Former pastor charged with sexually victimizing children


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By LYNNDA JOHNSON
Sun Advocate editor


After being arrested and booked into jail on June 28, the former pastor at the Church of God of Prophecy in Helper faces criminal prosecution for allegedly committing crimes against children. The Carbon County Attorney's Office has charged Rene Anthony Gomez, identified as a resident of East Carbon City, with eight first degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child counts along with 12 additional sodomy on a victim younger than 14 years of age offenses.

The Carbon County Attorney's Office has filed a criminal complaint charging the former pastor of a Helper church with sexually victimizing multiple children.

Dated July 23, the formal criminal information contends that Rene Anthony Gomez committed 20 separate first degree felony offenses against multiple victims from October 2000 through June 2002.

Filed in the 7th District Court, the felony level complaint identifies all of the alleged victims as children younger than the age of 14 years old when the purported incidents occurred.

Law enforcement authorities arrested the 32-year-old East Carbon resident on June 28 and the accused offender has remained incarcerated in the Carbon County Jail.

The criminal information charges the former pastor with eight first degree aggravated sexual abuse of a child counts along with 12 additional sodomy on a child felony level offenses.

In connection with the eight aggravated abuse charges, the complaint maintains that the defendant occupied a position of special trust when the former pastor allegedly took indecent liberties not amounting to rape with the children or caused the victims to engage in acts designed to arouse or gratify sexual desires.

The formal criminal information contends that Gomez committed the following first degree felony level crimes against the youth:

•October 2000 - Five aggravated sexual abuse of a child counts and five sodomy on a child charges.

•November 2000 - Two aggravated sexual abuse of a child offenses and three sodomy on a child counts.

•July 2001 - One aggravated sexual abuse of a child charge.

•June 2002 - Four sodomy on a child offenses.

Since the aggravated sexual abuse and sodomy charges involve several minors, the felony level complaint identifies the alleged victims by initials rather than listing the names of the children.

Now that the state prosecutor has formally filed the felony level information against Gomez, the district court will process the case through the local criminal justice system.

After a judge is assigned to preside over the criminal proceedings in the complaint, Gomez will appear before the court to answer the 20 first degree aggravated sexual abuse and sodomy on a child offenses.

In addition to a defendant's initial appearance before the court, the criminal proceedings generally conducted in felony level criminal matters include a preliminary hearing, an arraignment and a trial.

At the preliminary hearing, the district judge weighs the evidence and determines whether the prosecution has shown sufficient probable cause to hold the defendant to answer the charges at felony arraignment.

At arraignment, the accused criminal offender enters guilty or not guilty pleas on the counts contained in the formal criminal information.

In the event the defendant pleads not guilty to the charges, the accused offender will face the felony level offenses at trial - to a jury or to the court.

The maximum penalties the district court may impose in first degree felony sodomy on a child criminal convictions include fines of up to $10,000 along with indeterminate six-year, 10-year or 15-year to life sentences in the Utah State Prison.

Penalties imposable in a first degree felony level aggravated sexual abuse of a child convictions include monetary assessments of up to $10,000 and indeterminate five-year to life incarceration periods in the state prison.

Pursuant to Utah's criminal code, accused offenders convicted of committing first degree felony level sodomy and/or aggravated sexual abuse of a child charges face mandatory imprisonment.


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