Man sentenced to prison in abuse case

A Moab man who had inappropriate contact with an underage girl on multiple occasions was sentenced Aug. 25 in Monticello to one to 15 years in state prison.

Frank Joseph Jese, 67, previously pleaded guilty in San Juan County’s 7th District Court to a second-degree felony charge of sexual abuse of a child.

San Juan County Attorney Craig C. Halls initially charged Jese with a first-degree felony count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. If 7th District Judge Lyle R. Anderson had convicted him of that offense, Jese would have faced a mandatory presumptive sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

In exchange for his plea in San Juan County, Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald dismissed five separate aggravated sexual abuse charges, along with a sixth first-degree felony count of sodomy on a child.

“Our deal was, if he accepted responsibility down there, we would dismiss the charges here,” Fitzgerald said Aug. 26.

Fitzgerald told The Times-Independent that the victim and her family support the plea deal because they wanted the matter to be resolved as quickly as possible. According to Fitzgerald, the family believes that no further prosecutions are necessary, since Jese has admitted his guilt in one of the two cases.

The charges against Jese go back to March 20, when a 14-year-old girl told a Mesa County Sheriff’s detective in Grand Junction that the defendant abused her over a seven-year period in Moab and San Juan County.

“The conduct was of the same nature,” Fitzgerald said.

According to the girl’s statement, Jese touched her in an inappropriate manner on numerous occasions. On another occasion, Jese had inappropriate relations with her, she said.

The Mesa County detective subsequently contacted Moab Police Det. Craig Shumway, who interviewed Jese on April 10. According to Shumway’s probable cause statement for an arrest warrant, Jese said that whatever the girl said was true.

Jese, who had been free on two cash bonds, was ultimately remanded to the custody of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for transportation to the Utah State Prison in Draper.

ByBy Rudy Herndon

Staff Writer