Dammeron Valley man pleads guilty to aggravated sex abuse of child

5th District Court in St. George, Utah | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Dammeron Valley man accused of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 14 pleaded guilty to two of five charges in 5th District Court Wednesday.

Rodney Eugene Hoppal, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, May 5, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Rodney Eugene Hoppal, 48, was originally charged in 2018 with five first-degree felonies, including one count of rape of a child, one count of sodomy of a child and three counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hoppal pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child downgraded to second-degree felonies in exchange for dismissing the three remaining charges.

The case stems from an investigation that began in the fall of 2017 when police interviewed a young female who recounted multiple instances of Hoppal initiating sexual contact or touching her inappropriately. The charges were filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office April 26 of last year, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

About a week after the warrant was issued, Hoppal was arrested at his workplace and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility where he posted a $75,000 bond, according to court documents. His initial court appearance was May 15 of last year in St. George before 5th District Court Judge G. Michael Westfall.

After a number of hearings, trial cancellations and legal maneuvering, a resolution was reached Wednesday.

During the hearing, Westfall ordered a presentence investigation be conducted examining Hoppal’s background, any criminal history and his chances of reoffending. The report from that investigation will influence the sentence Westfall hands down. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.

Hoppal’s defense attorney, Adam Crayk, requested that a psycho-sexual evaluation be completed on his client, saying he would rather the court have “the whole picture” prior to sentencing.

Westfall also ordered Hoppal to contact Adult Probation and Parole to set up the appointment for the evaluation by Friday, adding if he failed to do so, “a very large warrant” would be issued for his arrest.

St. George News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this report.

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

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