A Grand County man was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation in district court on Tuesday, Nov. 6, several weeks after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Anthony Clay Ekman, 32, allegedly fondled a 14-year-old girl and committed other inappropriate acts with her, but he benefited from an attractive plea deal after agreeing to testify against another perpetrator, Charlie Hernandez, who has since pleaded guilty to several counts, including having sex with the same girl over a period of several months.
Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald told District Judge Don Torgerson that Ekman’s behavior with the girl was inappropriate, but less serious than was Hernandez’s actions. That, coupled with the fact he cooperated with investigators and prosecutors, led to the “generous offer,” said Fitzgerald. The state dropped a felony count of sexual abuse of a child in exchange for the plea.
Ekman expressed remorse.
“I’m very ashamed,” said Ekman. “This has been very hard on my son, my family. My heart goes out to the victim. I deeply regret my actions.” His wife and mother started crying as Ekman expressed himself.
Defense attorney Steve Russell said Ekman plans to move from the Moab area when he finishes his month in jail.
The girl’s parents were in the courtroom but declined to address Torgerson. In addition to jail time and probation, Ekman must pay a $1,000 fine.
Hernandez likely faces a prison term when he is sentenced Dec. 18.