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Teen says Utah lawyer gave her drugs, paid for sex

Published March 14, 2013 9:05 pm

Crime • Attorney Steven Kuhnhausen faces 14 charges.
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Longtime Utah defense attorney Steven Kuhnhausen was "as crooked as can be" — that's how a girl described the man who allegedly paid her to have sex with him after downing shots and smoking pot.

The teenager shared the description with a mutual acquaintance who allegedly arranged for her to have sex with Kuhnhausen, according to search warrants released on Thursday. Kuhnhausen, 65, was arrested and charged last month with 14 felony and misdemeanor counts related to an alleged four-month sexual relationship with the teenager.

The search warrants shine more light on their relationship, in which investigators believe the attorney supplied the girl with alcohol and marijuana before having sex with her — though he has not been charged with any alcohol or drug offenses.

The mutual acquaintance has known Kuhnhausen for three or four years and provided him with prostitutes on many occasions, according to the warrants. In the past year, Kuhnhausen had requested a "90-pound female," which the acquaintance "stated he interpreted that to mean [Kuhnhausen] wanted younger girls," the warrants add.

Beginning in October 2012, investigators say they started getting information from a confidential informant that a 17-year-old was being pimped out to Kuhnhausen. The informant was a prostitute who told investigators that Kuhnhausen had been her regular client.

After investigating phone calls between the teen and the acquaintance, and surveilling the attorney's home, investigators brought the teen to the police station for an interview in February. She told the police that she and Kuhnhausen had been having sex since just after her 17th birthday in August 2012 through January, and he would pay her with money and gifts.

"Generally every time she would go to [Kuhnhausen's home], they would have a couple shots of Patron or Jagermeister, smoke a little weed and have sex," the search warrants read. She also added that Kuhnhausen's weed "wasn't that good" and that he supplied her with marijuana cookies.

She also told police that he knew how old she was, pointing out an instance when they went to a smoke shop and she told Kuhnhausen that she couldn't buy smoking papers because she's 17.

She allowed investigators to search her cellphones, which revealed several text messages that asked her to engage in sexual activity with him.

A few days later, investigators found marijuana and a red and white naughty nurse outfit in Kuhnhausen's trash, according to the warrants. The teen showed investigators a cellphone picture she took in the outfit while in Kuhnhausen's house, and that he had bought her a phone at Walmart, the warrants add.

Investigators say they reviewed the store surveillance footage and saw two people, who appeared to be Kuhnhausen and the teenager, shopping for a phone.

When they ultimately searched Kuhnhausen's home, investigators found at least four grams of marijuana inside a prescription bottle with his name on it, as well as a purple glass bong, according to the warrants.

Kuhnhausen, a 1977 graduate of the University of Utah Law School, was admitted to the Utah Bar Association in 1978.

He is best known for his involvement as a defense attorney for members of the John Singer family, in particular, matriarch Vickie Singer, in the years following the polygamous clan's 1988 bombing of a Mormon chapel in Summit County. That bombing led to an armed standoff between law enforcement and Addam Swapp and his family, during which Corrections Officer Fred House was shot and killed.

In addition to criminal defense work, Kuhnhausen handles family law and divorce cases.

He is next scheduled to appear in court on April 12.


Twitter: @mikeypanda






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