This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A former program director for a center for teenagers with sexual behavior problems has been sentenced to 320 days in jail for sexually abusing a 15-year-old male client.
Teresa Lee Cope, 34, of Springville, had pleaded guilty in 4th District Court to five counts of custodial sexual misconduct with a youth receiving state services. Three of the counts were filed as second-degree felonies, while two are third-degree felonies.
Cope faced possible prison time, but earlier this month Judge Lynn Davis ordered 36 months probation, which includes the jail time, a $40,000 fine and completion of any treatment or counseling recommended by Adult Probation and Parole.
When the crimes occurred, Cope was program director at Birdseye Residential Treatment Center in Spanish Fork Canyon, which advertises itself as a program "for sexual behavioral problems and pornography addiction."
According to an arrest warrant filed in court, the sexual acts took place between April and May of 2013. Cope met the alleged victim while he was a resident at the treatment center, and their friendship turned sexual, according to police.
The encounters took place inside the treatment center and during off-site activities in Springville and Spanish Fork, according to police. The arrest warrant says the two performed sexual acts on one another, and eventually the relationship progressed to sexual intercourse that occurred in the backseat of a van parked outside a movie theater in Spanish Fork.
The teen's parents reported his claims to the state Department of Child and Family Services. Investigators found evidence in Cope's home that supported the teen's claims, including "electronic evidence" and "clothing items," according to Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.