University student sentenced after pleading guilty in Cedar City rape case

CEDAR CITY — A former Southern Utah University student was sentenced and fined last week after entering into a plea agreement for a reduced charge of attempted sexual assault on rape charges that originated in 2013.

According to the court docket, 5th District Judge Keith Barnes sentenced Aaron Jeffery Price based on a November 2014 plea agreement.

The court was provided a letter from the victim and heard testimony from the victim’s mother, according to the docket. A psychosexual evaluation had also been completed in the case and the judge heard the testimony of Eric Philpot and Derrick Bonney in support of Price.

The judge sentenced Price to a prison sentence of up to five years, which he then suspended and ordered Price serve 180 days, less two days credit for time-served, in the Iron County Jail to be served on weekends beginning Thursday (see Ed. note below). Price is also subject to a 36-month probation order.

The judge fined Price $9,533 including a $33 surcharge, and then suspended that fine except for the $33 surcharge. He also ordered Price pay $1,129.15 restitution to the victim; pay for any counseling she may have undergone; register as a sex offender and abide by the accompanying restrictions of that registration.

Background

On April 23, 2013, officers of the Cedar City Police Department met with a woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted, a probable cause statement filed in support of the initial arrest said. The victim stated that Aaron Price, who was an SUU student and member of the SUU Rugby Club, had forcefully carried her to a bedroom, held her down, and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him.

After officials conducted a sexual assault examination, they discovered the victim had several injuries consistent with her description of what happened, the statement said. Forensic evidence was also gathered that corroborated her claims.

Once police located Price and interviewed him, the statement said, he did not deny the allegations.

“Price admitted to forcing the victim to have sexual intercourse with him,” the statement said. “He stated that she continued to tell him ‘no’ and fight him. … He stated that this was against the will of the victim.”

Price was arrested and booked into the Iron County Jail on $50,000 bail, which he later posted via bail bond, according to court records. The Iron County Attorney’s office brought first-degree rape charges against Aaron Jeffery Price by Information filed April 26, 2013.

Following multiple court hearings throughout the next year, Price pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2014, to a third-degree felony count of attempted forcible sexual assault as part of a plea agreement reached with Chief Deputy County Attorney Troy Little.

According to the SUU Rugby Club’s roster, Price is no longer a player on the team.

Price will begin his jail time at the Iron County Jail on Thursday.

Ed. note 6:35 p.m.: The sentencing date was Jan. 13.  A stipulated motion on behalf of both the prosecution and the defense was signed on Jan. 21 and filed on Jan. 22 allowing for modification of the jail order such that Price may serve 180 days in either Iron County Jail or Salt Lake City Adult Detention Center; no provision for serving that time on weekends is included in modification. As of Thursday night, no order of the court on the parties’ joint motion has been posted to the case on the court docket. This report will be updated as any further orders of the court are made.

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30 Comments

  • Jeff Schrade January 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Please tell me there is a recall going on for the prosecutor and judge involved in this case. If I was the young woman’s father, I’d be very tempted to provide a more severe form of punishment.

  • sagemoon January 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Scum bag.

  • Bunny2015 January 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Was he a member or a gentile? anyone know?

    • kronaz January 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Why on earth could that possibly matter? And what a dumb way to ask it.

  • Bunny2015 January 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    seems like he got off kind of easy

  • Koolaid January 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Southern Utah, where female = fodder

    • Tight Magic Undies January 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Koolaid’s family: where fodder = dodder’s hubby

      • tight magic undies January 22, 2015 at 7:25 pm

        Um, no. Not me. Koolaid on the other hand, is right on. Only 180 days for this guy? Must have gotten a good word from his bishop. I smell a fundraiser.

  • lp January 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Why did the judge let him off with less fines than a DUI?

  • Eddiealex January 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    The victim should have been consultated and been the one to approve any plea deal. If this was my daughter I cannot say what would happen. there is no more justice in this country. Please write and call the D.A. and Judge in this case and let them know of your displeasure with this deal. 5th District Judge Keith Barnes and Chief Deputy County Attorney Troy Little. I thinkl I will ask the Attorney General to look into this.

    • Koolaid January 22, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      I’m wondering if her experience, pain and trauma is worth more than the $11,000 and 180 day jail time. Is ‘forgive and forget’ the motto for women who’ve been assaulted?

  • Despicable January 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    What an utter outrage! This is not justice! 5th District Judge Keith Barnes needs to be thoroughly investigated for his poor decision making in this case. Unconscionable.

  • tight magic undies January 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    The hypocrisy in Southern Utah is an absolute joke.

  • unknown January 22, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Wow this guy rapes someone and basically gets away with it. I truly hope the victim agreed to this plea deal if not then the system just raped her again.

  • N. S. January 23, 2015 at 7:33 am

    If any of you have legitimately served a corrections setence then you would know this is a fair outcome. This man not only has to serve jail time (180 days of his life gone), but carry a felony on his record for the rest of his life. Most if not all of you whom have something negative to say are arrogant scumbags. You try losing 30-180 days then carrying a mark of shame that will bar you from government jobs, student loans, and many other jobs for one impulsive mistake.

    • ladybugavenger January 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Oh wow, I was thinking of the lvictim who was raped. Who will have to carry that for the rest of her life.

    • Bonita January 23, 2015 at 9:31 am

      This guys sentance is a little less than that of a DUI were no accidents occurred. This so-called impulsive mistake dramatically affected a girl’s life and with the amount that it sounds like she fought him back it was more than just an impulse. this sentance was way less than what others get for committing a crime. What a shame.

      • Koolaid January 23, 2015 at 10:27 am

        Just barely harsher than the washington co. deputy who wrecked the truck while driving dui with kids and weapons on board.

    • Chris January 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

      You are the arrogant scumbag, N.S. This … should be serving hard time in prison where he can get brutally raped himself. The slap on the wrist he received is an absolute outrage.
      Ed. ellipsis.

      • TIGHT MAGIC UNDIES January 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        Ooohhh, can I be his cellmate????

        • tight magic undies January 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

          Ummm, nope.

    • My Evil Twin January 23, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Hey …, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Now go crawl back into your closet.
      Mark of shame my butt, just what do you think the victim carries with HER for the rest of her life. Of course, I realize that as far as you are concerned it doesn’t matter, all that matters is YOU.
      Ed. ellipsis.

      • Free Parkimg January 26, 2015 at 11:19 pm

        Ha ha you got moderated now go crawl back into your closet

  • sagemoon January 23, 2015 at 9:02 am

    If the victim is reading this, I hope this resolution is agreeable to you. You are the one who matters most in this case. Blessings.

  • Roger Robinson January 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

    There is Justice, then there is Just Us… Not necessarily the same?

  • Bonita January 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Keith Barns was a horrible horrible choice for a district court judge. I would expect more from Troy Little though, I’m surprised he agreed to this.

  • Free Parkimg January 26, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Complain about the judge the judge is no better than the scum that gets dragged into his court room

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