This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Democratic candidate for Utah attorney general, Jon Harper, slammed current Attorney General Sean Reyes for providing information about a rape investigation his office conducted to the federal judge who had been accused of the crime.
The case stems from the alleged sexual abuse of Terry Mitchell when then-16-year-old Mitchell was a witness in the 1981 federal trial involving the murder of two friends shot and killed in Liberty Park by Joseph Paul Franklin.
A member of the prosecution team at the time was Richard Roberts, who had sex with Mitchell on several occasions.
Reyes' office investigated Mitchell's allegations and Mitchell has since filed a federal lawsuit against Roberts, who went on to become a federal judge. Roberts stepped down from the bench citing health reasons the day Mitchell's suit was filed in March.
Harper blasted Reyes' office for allowing Roberts to gain access to the findings of its report.
zHis office declined to prosecute the case, citing the time that had passed and vagaries in the law at the time the alleged assault occurred.
But Mitchell's lawyer, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, condemned the sharing of the investigative findings when he filed Mitchell's lawsuit, saying it undermined Mitchell's case and re-victimized her.
Harper this week called Reyes' handling of the case "a shameful betrayal of victims' rights."
"What Sean Reyes is accused of doing is a blatant attack on the safety of our daughters, of our sisters, and of our mothers," Harper said. "This is an obstruction of justice and beneath the office of the attorney general. Terry Mitchell was betrayed by the system that exists to protect her. Sean Reyes betrayed every woman in this state."
Harper said that, by receiving the information, Roberts was allowed to retire as a judge and Reyes "seems to have chosen to help out another good ol' boy, rather than represent the mission of his office."
The office shared the findings of the report with the Justice Department, two congressional committees, the U.S. office of the courts, the bar association and law enforcement agencies that handled the Franklin case the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. attorney's office.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office, Dan Burton, said those were the recommendations from former U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell and former Utah Judge Raymond Uno, who conducted an analysis of the case.
"The Utah Attorney General's Office takes seriously the rights of all victims," Burton said. "In reviewing the allegations against Richard Roberts, the attorney general's office followed the recommendations of a report prepared by world-renowned victims' rights advocate, Paul Cassell … as well as other legal authorities who reviewed the case at the time."