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Utah man 'in position of trust' faces 26 child rape, sexual abuse charges

Jesse Paul Murff.jpg
Jesse Paul Murff (Photo: Wasatch County Sheriff's Office)

(KUTV) – A Davis County, Utah man is facing 26 charges related to the repeated sexual abuse and rape of a child for a period of several years.

According to court documents, 39-year-old Jesse Paul Murff held a position of trust over the child, giving him easy access to rape and abuse the girl beginning at age 10.

Utah's law regarding a person with a "position of trust" includes 23 definitions (listed below).

Murff allegedly told the child that he would kill her family members in front of her before killing her she ever told anyone about the abuse.

Murff also is accused of forcing the girl to watch pornography, calling the sex acts she saw teaching moments. He would later abuse and rape the girl using some of those sex acts, the indictment says.

Officers with the Heber City Police Department arrested Murff Thursday night after being alerted by the Davis County Sheriff's Office that Murff was "actively evading law enforcement and possibly attempting to leave the state."

Utah's definition of a person with a position of trust -- as found in Utah criminal code "76-5-404.1. Sexual abuse of a child -- Aggravated sexual abuse of a child" -- is the following:

  1. Adoptive parent
  2. Athletic manager who is an adult
  3. Aunt
  4. Babysitter
  5. Coach
  6. Cohabitant of a parent if the cohabitant is an adult
  7. Counselor
  8. Doctor or physician
  9. Employer
  10. Foster parent
  11. Grandparent
  12. Legal guardian
  13. Natural parent
  14. Recreational leader who is an adult
  15. Religious leader
  16. Sibling or a stepsibling who is an adult
  17. Scout leader who is an adult
  18. Stepparent
  19. Teacher or any other individual employed by or volunteering at a public or private elementary school or secondary school, and who is 18 years of age or older
  20. Instructor, professor, or teaching assistant at a public or private institution of higher education
  21. Uncle
  22. Youth leader who is an adult
  23. Individual in a position of authority, other than those individuals listed in Subsections (1)(c)(i) through (xxiii), which enables the individual to exercise undue influence over the child

Murff is facing the following charges:

  • Four counts of object rape, all first-degree felonies
  • Three counts of rape, all first-degree felonies
  • Five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies
  • Six counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies
  • Four counts of forcible sexual abuse, all second-degree felonies
  • One count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony
  • Two counts of lewdness involving a child, both class A misdemeanors
  • One count of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor

Murff's bail is set at $500,000.