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Utah man arrested in groping incident had killed a girl in New Orleans

Published December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Crime • Christopher Rebstock accused of grabbing 11-year-old girl at Festival of Trees.
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A man accused of groping a girl after a performance at the Festival of Trees in Sandy on Friday had served prison time in Louisiana for killing a girl when he was a teenager, according to court and corrections officials.

Christopher J. Rebstock, now 47, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection to the January 1982 death of Lara Deutsch, a 12-year-old New Orleans girl, according to officials with the Jefferson Parish Courts.

Rebstock — who was originally charged with murder — was sentenced in 1983 to serve 21 years in prison for the crime.

However, Rebstock served just over 10 years of the sentence and was released on April 19, 1993, according to Pam Laborde, communications director with the Department of Corrections in Louisiana.

According to a 1982 opinion by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, a 16-year-old Rebstock admitted to his father that he killed Deutsch. He also gave a recorded confession to police, but the confession was eventually suppressed because he never signed a waiver of rights when being questioned in January 1982.

Rebstock was the prime suspect in the case when two detectives with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office came to his home on Jan. 11, 1982, according to the court opinion. The detectives had honed in on the teenager because Deutsch — a close friend of Rebstock's sister — had not returned home after visiting the Rebstock family's home, and an obscene phone call detailing alleged sexual relations with a dead girl was traced back to the Rebstock residence.

Rebstock and his parents were taken to a police station, and when officers informed his parents of the evidence that linked the teen to the murder, Rebstock's father had requested a few moments alone with his son.

"He just told me he killed Lara," the father subsequently told police, according to the court opinion.

Rebstock was arrested that day.

Several years after he was released from prison, Rebstock came to Utah, and, in 1997, he was arrested for battery and disturbing the peace. He pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a plea in abeyance, and the charges were dismissed in 1998.

In 2001, Rebstock pleaded guilty to first-degree felony attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child in connection with a September 2000 episode involving a 4-year-old boy in Salt Lake City.

He was sentenced to three years to life in prison and placed on Utah's sex offender registry after his release on parole in March 2009.

Rebstock was arrested Friday after a woman saw the man near a group of dancers and their parents at the Festival of Trees. She saw him brush by an 11-year-old girl and grab the girl's buttocks, according to Sandy police Sgt. Jon Arnold. The woman talked to the girl and confirmed what had happened, then reported it to security at the South Towne Exposition Center.

Rebstock tried to run when security guards approached, Arnold said, but was eventually caught and arrested.

Criminal charges were being screened by the Salt Lake County Attorney's Office on Tuesday, according to Arnold.


Twitter: @jm_miller






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