Judge hands down stiff sentence in child sex abuse case

CEDAR CITY – A 5th District Judge handed down a stiff sentence Tuesday in a case involving two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both first-degree felonies.

Judge Keith Barnes ordered Blane Scott Fredrick to serve two concurrent sentences of 15 years to life for the charges. Concurrent means the defendant will have to serve one sentence at the same time.

Barnes immediately remanded the 56-year-old into the custody of the state and ordered him to be taken to the Iron County Correctional Facility to await transfer to the Utah State Prison.

According to the charging documents in the case, the juvenile victim told police Fredrick had been touching her vagina “under her panties” every two to three weeks for about one year. It began when the girl was in second grade and ended when she was in third grade.

The defendant was interviewed two days later at Cedar City Police Department where he gave investigators similar details of the abuse. Fredrick denied more than one incident occurring between he and the female child.

An 8-member jury found Fredrick guilty in April following a two-day trial.

Read more: Jury verdict comes in on aggravated child sex abuse case

The defendant initially pleaded guilty to the charges after admitting to Cedar City police investigators he had touched the vagina of the 9-year-old girl he had been responsible for babysitting. He later withdrew the guilty plea and retracted his original statement to detectives claiming he “lied.”

During the jury trial, Fredrick’s defense attorney Daniel Matern tried establishing doubt among jurors by arguing his client only admitted to the incident after he had been interrogated and pressured to do so. Chief Deputy County Attorney Mike Edwards rebutted the argument, arguing the defendant had admitted to the incident within 30 minutes – not after hours of interrogation and undue stress.

Read more: No jury verdict yet in aggravated child sex abuse case

Matern again brought this issue up Tuesday to try and reduce his client’s sentence to six years for each charge. He used the argument to counter Edwards’ claim the defendant should spend a minimum of 15 years in prison as he “posed a great threat to the community.”

“Those statements we talked about extensively at the trial,” he said. “He (Fredrick) said he made that up. That was brought out extensively at trial so I’m not disagreeing with that.”

Matern pleaded leniency for his client arguing Fredrick had no prior convictions and had been “squeaky clean” since his 2013 arrest

“I don’t see how 15 years vs. six years is going to protect society in any way,” he said. “He’s not some uncontrollable person that needs to go out and do all this stuff.”

A clean record meant nothing Edwards said, arguing that it only showed “how good he was at hiding what he did.

“There’s been no apology for what he’s done,” Edwards said. “There’s been no awareness.”

Following court, Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett said he was glad to finally see this case come to a close and justice served.

“This case has gone for a long time,” Garrett said. “Hopefully, today offered some closure for the victims. We are pleased with the judge’s sentence and believe justice was served.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence the Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center is available 24-hours a day through their various crisis lines. For domestic violence, call 435-865-7443. For rape and sexual assault, call 435-867-6149. For the Mobile Crisis Team, call 435-233-5732.

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