CEDAR CITY — A former Iron County Sheriff’s deputy previously charged with aggravated assault has received a three-month suspension on his police certification.
The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council – or POST – suspended Ronald Parley Skeem’s certification for three-months for disorderly conduct, a charge he was ultimately convicted on.
Skeem, 46, accepted a plea agreement last April that reduced the original second-degree felony assault charge to disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor.
The Deputy Washington County Attorney Laina Arras told the Salt Lake Tribune at the time that the three-step reduction was primarily based on the victim, who told the judge he wanted the case to be resolved in this way so both he and Skeem could move on with their lives.
The charges and council’s discipline stem from an incident in August 2015 when Skeem and another former Iron County Sheriff’s deputy, Adam Burton, were off duty and went to Burton’s home in Parowan after they were rained out “at the mud bogs,” according to a Cedar City police report.
The two were drinking and “having a good time,” until Skeem confronted Burton about having an affair with his wife, the police report states.
Burton denied the allegations, but Skeem still punched him in the face. Skeem left to walk home, but Burton followed him.
“Adam stated that Ronald continued to hit him as they were walking down the road,” the police report states.
Burton never struck back at Skeem, according to the police report.
Both parties told police they did not want to pursue criminal charges.
“Skeem and Burton work together and are friends off-duty,” one officer wrote in the police report. “It appears this was a misunderstanding fueled by alcohol.”
Both men subsequently resigned from the sheriff’s office.
However, Skeem’s attorney, Jack Burns, said the description in the police report of the night’s events is not an accurate portrayal of what really happened.
The defense attorney pointed to a trial his client recently went through in front of a POST administrative law judge that found Skeem not guilty.
The council’s decision came down after that trial found Skeem had in fact “done nothing wrong that night,” Burns said.
“I have represented Ronald Skeem throughout this process and it has been a privilege, and I have learned why he is as respected as he is in the criminal justice system,” Burns said. “He is a great officer and even a better person and while I think a letter of caution would have been more appropriate in the case, we do respect POST’s decision.”
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.