St. George man sentenced for rape of a child, aggravated sex abuse

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was sentenced Wednesday to serve six years to life in prison for having sex with a 13-year-old and sexually abusing a second child.

Kaden Luwayne Barber, 20, of St. George, pleaded guilty to two first-degree felonies on April 24, including rape of a child and aggravated sex abuse of a child.

Barber was clean-shaven as he appeared in 5th District Court before Judge Michael Westfall, who said he is not bound by the recommendations provided in the pre-sentence investigation report, but he would follow those recommendations nonetheless.

“And it’s fortunate for you that I did,” Westfall told Barber.

Barber was sentenced to serve six years to life on each of the two counts, but the sentences will run simultaneously.

The remaining 10 charges filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office against Barber were dismissed, per a plea agreement, including three counts of second-degree felony sex abuse of a child, two counts of second-degree felony exploitation of a minor and two third-degree felony counts of dealing in harmful material to a minor.

Kaden Luwayne Barber booking photo, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Prosecutor Ryan Shaum said it came down to the decisions Barber made in the commission of the crimes “that have destroyed two families.”

Charges filed in August 2018 after police investigated allegations that a 13-year-old-girl was in a relationship with a 19-year-old man. Barber admitted to having sex with the adolescent and to sending/requesting inappropriate photos, as well as providing alcohol, marijuana and vapes to the girl. A forensic examination of his cell phone revealed inappropriate photos that were exchanged electronically, along with evidence that showed Barber with the girl on multiple occasions. He said he was aware of her age.

Detectives also learned of a second alleged victim, also 13, who was touched inappropriately after being invited to Barber’s house to watch a movie.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing the mother of one of the teens’ made a victim impact statement and described how her daughter was a confident, friendly, funny adolescent who made friends easily and excelled at school. He daughter also had “big dreams and goals,” the mother said.

“That all came to a halt when she became the victim of the defendant who brutally abused and raped her.”

The incident also threw the family into “complete chaos.” She said her daughter stopped caring about school, her grades plummeted and after two suicide attempts the girl was placed in a residential treatment facility to be treated for depression, anxiety, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder. The family is allowed a one-hour visit weekly.

“There is a long road of recovery ahead,” the mother said. “What took place over a few days will have effects that will last for the rest of her life.”

Barber’s attorney Douglas Terry said he can’t remember a client that has been incarcerated for more than 300 days with a better attitude. He told the court his client knows the sentence “is what is required in order for justice to be met and will follow what has been set in place. … He’s prepared to do that.”

Terry also submitted certificates of completion for programs Barber has enrolled in while in jail as well as letters portraying Barber’s character submitted by his friends and family. Terry told the court that while he realized the documents would have no impact on Barber’s sentence, they could be considered during parole hearings and wanted them included in the defendant’s file for the Department of Corrections.

Barber declined the opportunity to speak before being sentenced.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews 

 

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