Judge throws the book at defendant during sentencing in sex abuse case

Composite image. Background of 5th District Courthouse, St. George, Utah. Inset booking photo of Lynn J. Mangum, 53, of St. George, Utah, Nov. 26, 2018 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man accused of sexually abusing a minor was sentenced on three of six charges in 5th District Court Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to the crimes last month.

District Court Judge G. Michael Westfall sentenced 53-year-old Lynn J. Mangum to 1-15 years in Utah State Prison on each of the three counts of forcible sexual abuse of a minor, a second-degree felony.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the state agreed to drop three of the charges and also to allow each of the three prison terms to run concurrently, meaning all three terms run simultaneously, in exchange for a guilty plea in an effort to resolve the case, Prosecutor Zachary Weiland said.

Weiland addressed the court by saying the defendant “needs to be in prison for what he’s done,” and went on to say the defendant didn’t confess to the crimes until he was confronted with the state’s evidence against him, and has not taken responsibility for what he has done.

Mangum’s defense attorney Ed Flint countered by saying his client “takes full responsibility for his actions,” adding that even the defendant himself admitted he didn’t know why he did what he did.

Lynn J. Mangum, 53, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Nov. 26, 2018 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Weiland argued that without prison the defendant would pose a threat to society and, if given the chance, Mangum “would do it again.”

Flint disagreed, and went on to say his client needs help, which prison may offer but then asked if society is best served by the defendant sitting in prison. Or would society be better served by a sentence of one year in jail followed by close supervision where Mangum can address his deviancy.

Left undaunted by either side’s arguments and not bound by the plea agreement, Judge Westfall sentenced Mangum to serve each of the three 1-15 year sentences consecutively, meaning the defendant will have to finish serving the sentence for one offense before he starts serving the sentence for each of the following offenses – which also means he could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.

The three counts stem from an investigation conducted in November that was prompted by police after receiving a report that a minor was sexually abused by Mangum, and on November 26 police say the defendant confessed to the crimes while being questioned by detectives. Mangum was later arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility where has remained on $61,950 bail.

The victim addressed the court by saying she continues to suffer both physically and emotionally as a result of the defendant’s actions, adding that she now suffers from PTSD, panic attacks and a number of other conditions directly related to the crimes, and addressed Mangum when she said, “you ruined my life.”

During the hearing a large crowd of about 20 bikers were gathered in the courtroom and spilled out into the hallway just outside the door, which turned out to be members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, BACA, that showed up to support the victim during her impact statement in open court.

Bikers Against Child Abuse logo, St. George News

BACA member “Shots” told St. George News the group attended the hearing to “empower the victim so they are not afraid,” while giving their statement, and said the group’s aim is to create a barrier between the victim and the perpetrator. The group walked the victim into court and a number of members filled the courtroom while several remained outside in the hallway.

“Shots” went on to say they have no vested interest in the case itself, nor are they aligned with either side. Instead, their efforts are focused on making the victim feel safe, and to let them know they are not alone but are part of the BACA family, he said.

“Our only interest is supporting the child in these cases,” Shots said.

“Shots” also said that not only did many members of the local chapter attend Wednesday’s hearing, but five members of the Color Country chapter in Cedar City made the trip specifically to attend the sentencing in a show of support.

Judge Westfall ordered Mangum to begin serving his sentence immediately and issued an order to transport the defendant to Utah State Prison.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.


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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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