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Enoch councilman charged with mysterious computer crime

By Katie McKellar, KSL  |  Posted Jan 13th, 2018 @ 3:32pm



ENOCH, Iron County — An Enoch councilman has been accused of violating the law by intentionally accessing computer property without permission.

But prosecutors are mum about what prompted them to file a criminal charge.

Councilman David Findlay Owens, 38, is charged in Iron County Justice Court with one count of computer crime, a class B misdemeanor, accusing him of intentionally or knowingly gaining access to "computer property" without authorization, according to charging documents filed at the end of last month.

The unexplained crime allegedly occurred on July 28, 2016, in Iron County, the charges say.

Owens has been an Enoch councilman since January 2016. He also owns the phone repair shop Fix-N-Go in Cedar City.

No probable cause statement detailing Owens' allegations was filed because Owens was summoned to court and was not arrested, said Robert Cosson, St. George's chief prosecuting attorney.

Cosson, who is prosecuting the case from Iron County to avoid any conflict of interest, declined to say exactly what the councilman is accused of doing. "We don't comment on cases that we're actively processing," he said.

Neither Owens or his attorney, Gary Pendleton, immediately returned requests for comment Friday.

Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said he and Enoch Mayor Geoffery Chestnut were notified by Owens that he was under investigation.

"He told us he was under investigation for an action he had taken, something he had done," Dotson said. "That's all we talked about. He left it at that."

Dotson did say, however, as far as he's aware, Owens' alleged crime does not involve a city computer.

Dotson said any impact on Owens' position as a city councilman will depend on the outcome of the case "because we believe in innocent until proven guilty."

However, Enoch does not have a policy to remove or discipline elected officials charged with misdemeanors, only felonies, Dotson said.

If convicted, Owens faces a maximum potential penalty of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Owens is scheduled to appear in Iron County Justice Court before Judge Margaret Millner on March 21. Owens has also been ordered to report to the Iron County Jail to be fingerprinted, booked and released at least 48 hours before his court appearance.

Katie McKellar, KSL
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