Sexual Abuse at Home Daycare in Utah

After more than 20 years, multiple people have come forward as victims of sexual abuse that took place at a home daycare in Utah.

Not so trustworthy care

Photo by: Eric.Ray

When a parent drops their child off at a daycare, they are entrusting other people with the safety and well-being of their child until their return. For multiple families in Utah, their trust in a caretaker was broken due to the discovery of horrifying sexual abuse. Sadly, the families remained unaware of the abuse for two decades. After their children were grown with some having families of their own, several Utah families discovered that their children had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the childcare provider’s son who lived in the residence of the daycare.

Abuse by teen, charged as adult

35 year old Theodore Joseph Heaps of Salt Lake City was arrested sexual abuse and rape of a child after a victim came forward with allegations that Heaps had raped her while she was 12 years old and in the care of Heaps mother who ran a daycare out of her home. Heaps, who was between 15 and 17 years old at the time of the sexual abuse, admitted to the allegations, and also stated that there were multiple victims over a three year period.

Criminal charges

Although the abuse took place long ago, authorities were just recently made aware of the crimes and charges were swiftly made against Heaps as soon as the district attorney gave the green light. Heaps is currently facing three first degree felonies: two for sodomy on a child and one for rape of a child. More charges could surface as other victims come forward. For help with criminal charges regarding current or past crimes, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Drink Order May Help Protect Women in Unsafe Dating Situations

A specialty drink order making headlines may help protect women in unsafe dating situations.

Online dating

Photo by: Mike Beales

In a world where many dates begin online, meeting in person can still feel very much like a blind date. Many of these “meet in person” moments take place at bars where the environment is more casual and adding a drink or two helps lower inhibitions. Even in this comfortable setting, things still may go south. Once there, someone may discover the person they are meeting is far different than they expected. Some dates end up looking much different than their profile picture which was taken with a filter. More often things don’t work out due to a matter of personalities clashing. Unfortunately, there are some instances when a date goes wrong, leaving the other party feeling unsafe.

Bartenders looking out for patrons

When a date is just not going well, a person can either politely excuse themselves or wait for their scheduled call from a friend to bail them out. When a date ends up making a person fearful for their safety however, they may need help safely removing themselves from the situation. Several bartenders across the nation and even in the Salt Lake valley are looking out for their female patrons who may be in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation while at the bar. Many bar owners have posted instructions in the women’s restrooms on how to safely get out of a bad date. There are two different methods going around that have both proven to be effective in the bars where the info is posted.

Ask for Angela or an Angel Shot

Some bars have instructions posted informing women on bad dates to ask the bartender for “Angela”. This code word lets the bartender and other bar staff know that the person is in a situation that they feel uncomfortable getting out of on their own. The most popular “bad date exit plan” making the rounds is the Angel Shot. A woman in an unsafe dating situation at the bar simply requests a drink of the bartender. This “help me” drink is called the Angel Shot. How the woman orders this drink lets the bartender know exactly how they can help.

• If the woman wants to be walked to her car, she asks for her Angel shot “neat”.
• If she needs a cab or Uber, she asks for her Angel shot “on the rocks”.
• If she feels the need to involve the police, she asks for her Angel shot “with a lime”.

Staff trained to help

Not all bar staff in Utah are trained in knowing what an Angel shot is or what a patron means when they ask for Angela. Additionally, many perpetrators who would be problem dates have heard of Angel Shots, making the discreet request not so discreet. Fortunately, many bouncers and staff at popular bars are trained to look for problem situations. Prior to setting up a blind date, it might be wise to call ahead to the bar of choice and ask about such training to ensure a date is set in the safest possible setting.

Repeat Sex Offender in Utah

A Provo man who was arrested for multiple sexual charges against a young child turned out to be a repeat sex offender, registered both times in the state of Utah.

Sexual abuse of a child

Photo by: Victor

Photo by: Victor

56 year old Roger Lowell Falkner of Provo Utah was arrested after a young child came forward and told police Falkner had sexually abused her. When confronted with the charges, Falkner verified everything the little girl had told police and was booked into the Utah County Jail on multiple charges.

Repeat sex offender

This incident was not the first time Falkner had been charged with sexual offenses; in fact, Falkner was a convicted repeat sex offender in the state of Utah. According to Family Watchdog, his first conviction was in December of 1992 for second degree felony sexual abuse of a child. Nearly 13 years later in September of 2005, he was convicted of third degree attempted forcible sexual abuse. Now 12 years later he faces a first degree felony for sodomy on a child; three second degree felonies for sexual abuse of a child, dealing harmful material to a minor, and exploitation of a minor; he also faces a third degree felony for lewdness.

Recidivism rate of sex offenders

Repeat Sex Offender

Photo by: Ken Teegardin

Regrettably, there are times when a person convicted of a sex crime is not successfully rehabilitated and becomes a repeat sex offender with new sexual charges against them. Fortunately, a document put forth by the Utah Department of Corrections & Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice in 2010 portrays that repeat offenders, or recidivism, isn’t as common as people think. Although the number of sex offenders under the watch of the Department of Corrections has continued to increase over the years, most of those who are arrested after being released are arrested because of “technical violations of the conditions of parole, not new criminal behavior”.

Sex offender treatment programs

The Utah Department of Corrections notes that strict probation as well as the state of Utah’s sex offender program is to thank for the lower rate of repeat offenders. They shared the results of a study conducted over the course of up to 26 years of “388 offenders of a felony sex offense who were treated in the Bonneville Community Corrections Center program between 1979 and 1994, [including] both successful program completers and failures” and indicated that “83% of the offenders had no new criminal convictions during the entire follow-up period. “ The UDC document then went on to proclaim that “successful completers of treatment were significantly less likely to have any form of recidivism that those who failed- successful treatment completers had a 26% lower recidivism rate than non-completers. If the treatment programs are so successful, why would someone such as Roger Falkner continue on to be repeat sex offender?

Program funding

Photo by: Kevin Cortopassi

Photo by: Kevin Cortopassi

Sadly, for a program that has been proven to work to rehabilitate sex offenders, it has not received the funding needed to keep up with the demand. Regardless of inflation, the sex offender treatment program in Utah hasn’t seen an increase in funding for over twenty years. Instead, they have lost one of their major facilities to house inmates who are incarcerated for sexual offenses and awaiting the program. Now, those convicted of a sexual offense are dispersed among the prison population while they sit on waiting list pending treatment. Hopefully they will be able to receive the help they need before their time is served and they are back in the community. Although there has been no news of increased funding for the sex offender treatment programs, there are changes being made to fix the program so it is more effective for those inmates who are participating. Perhaps these changes will help reduce another person like Falkner from becoming a repeat sex offender and ruining a victim’s life as well as their own. For more information on charges for sexual offenses or for defense and treatment options for a repeat sex offender, contact a criminal defense attorney.