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"Can I tell you something in secret?"
Those words, purportedly typed by Danette Stark, 37, during a Facebook chat with a 13-year-old Salt Lake City girl, sparked a spat between the girl's mother and Stark. Months later, Stark allegedly used a computer to paste the head of the girl onto a photo depicting bestiality, then spread the resulting fliers at the girl's school.
The girl was best friends with Stark's daughter. After learning Stark was chatting with her daughter online, the victimized girl's mother said Tuesday, she asked Stark to stop. The Tribune isn't identifying the mother to protect the identity of the victimized girl.
"No adult should be telling secrets to a child," she said after Stark's scheduling hearing in 3rd District Court. "It's inappropriate."
She said the resulting e-mail tiff between herself and Stark, which started in January, eventually included messages from Stark like, "You're a liar," and "You've sealed your fate."
The woman said she decided to back off, sending a final plea to Stark to "just let the girls be friends."
But Stark replied, "I'm going to have my daughter call [the friendship] off."
Weeks later, Stark allegedly created the fliers by attaching the girl's school photo to a picture of a naked woman engaged in a sex act with a dog.
On May 25, a custodian found the fliers in a restroom at Northwest Middle School. Stark was seen on surveillance video entering the restroom on May 24.
She was charged last month with 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, each a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Stark allegedly admitted to police she made 30 fliers "to retaliate for perceived wrongs" by the 13-year-old girl, according to charges.
The girl's mother said upon learning of the fliers, "I was in total shock. I couldn't breathe."
During a Tuesday court hearing for Stark, the defense showed Judge Denise Lindberg an evaluation prepared by Pre-trial Services, in which the Salt Lake County agency agreed to supervise Stark if she is released from jail.
But both the victim's mother and prosecutor Mandy Rose objected to Stark's release. The mother told the judge, "I don't know what to prepare my daughter for. … I don't know [Stark's] thought processes."
Lindberg declined to release Stark, who still could gain her freedom by posting $50,000 bail.
The victim's mother said she hopes any plea deal would require Stark to register as a sex offender, and that her daughter could testify at trial if needed.
Stark next returns to court for a resolution hearing July 27.