Staff member of youth facility in Virgin arrested for allegedly showing pornography to students

Stock image taken April 3, 2020 by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A staff member of a youth behavioral health center in Virgin accused of showing several students pornography and inappropriately touching teens was arrested Wednesday afternoon and booked into jail.

Guyla Reann Savage, 23, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 10, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Wednesday afternoon, 23-year-old Guyla Reann Savage was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and booked into jail on four felony counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor or dependent and four misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.

The arrest stems from an incident reported March 4, when authorities received a call from the Falcon Ridge Ranch Academy, located on state Route 9 in Virgin, reporting that a staff member, later identified as Savage, had reportedly been showing pornographic materials to the students, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.

It was later discovered that same staff member was allegedly involved in sexual misconduct by slapping the buttocks of four of the students on “numerous occasions,” the same students who were shown the pornography, according to the report. Through the course of the investigation, officers determined that all four students were teenage girls who were under the age of 18 at the time. One written statement provided to police, stated that four of the minors had been shown a picture of a man that was “sexual in nature,” including photos of a man dressed in lingerie with his genitals exposed.

The report also states that all of the photos allegedly shown to the students were on the suspect’s cell phone that she held in her hand while the images were viewed.

The girls also reported that Savage either touched or slapped their buttocks, either using her hand, a book or a foot, the report states.

The incidents sometimes took place during horseplay, they told authorities, while at other times there was no context associated with the behavior and it seemed random – where the suspect would just walk in the room and slap their buttocks for no apparent reason.

All four of the students told police the suspect’s actions seemed “weird” coming from a staff member of a facility they were housed in.

Based on the initial report, the statements gathered and information gleaned from the interviews it was determined there was probable cause sufficient for an arrest.

On Wednesday afternoon Savage arrived at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office voluntarily for an interview and told detectives she wanted a lawyer present during questioning, which ended the interview.

She was then handcuffed and escorted to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked into jail, and the proposed charges as listed were forwarded to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

St. George News reached out to Falcon Ridge Ranch Academy, but have yet to hear back.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement 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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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