ST. GEORGE – A sexual misconduct case involving former Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Garrett Thayer was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday after some initial confusion regarding who was handling the case for the state.
Thayer is accused of engaging in custodial sexual misconduct with three women while working at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility, which resulted in seven class A misdemeanor charges and one third-degree felony charge. The accusations and ensuing charges were the result of an investigation conducted in September 2013. Thayer was subsequently fired and arrested.
Attorneys involved in the case said in September that a resolution to the case was coming together. Details of a resolution via a plea deal have yet to be solidified in court, however. During two subsequent hearings, Gary Pendleton, Thayer’s lawyer, said issues related to the plea deal were still being discussed and additional time was needed to work them out.
In 5th District Court Wednesday, it was learned that management of the case for the prosecution has shifted from deputy Washington County Attorneys Brian Filter and Ryan Shaum to new attorneys.
Pendleton said he had wanted Shaum to stay on the case in order to keep a measure of continuity in the matter. At this point, he said, he has no idea who is taking up the case for the state.
Due to complexities related to the case and the change in attorneys, Deputy Attorney Bryan Wheat stood in for the state Wednesday and asked the court to reschedule the resolution hearing.
“I thought we had been making some real headway (before this),” Pendleton said.
Judge G. Michael Westfall said it has been a year since the court process started and noted there hadn’t been a preliminary hearing, which he said he’s more in favor of over another resolution hearing.
Despite the initial confusion, the state and defense said a resolution in the matter is still being worked out.
Westfall ordered a preliminary hearing to take place Dec. 8 at 9 a.m.
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