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Stalking case against governor's son unsealed

Stalking case against governor's son unsealed

By Sara Lenz, Deseret News | Posted - Sep. 14, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.



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PROVO — The pending stalking case against Gov. Gary Herbert's son, Nathan, was unsealed Monday after the defendant's attorney rescinded his motion to seal the case last week.

The case had been temporarily sealed in August after Nathan Gary Herbert's attorney, Scott Card, filed the sealing motion. A hearing set for Oct. 15 was supposed to decide whether the case would remain sealed, but Herbert's attorney withdrew the motion Sept. 8.

In the motion to classify the case as sealed, Card said that his client believed keeping the records public could damage his father's career.

"Respondent fears that his father's political career and reputation will be negatively impacted by potential media reports portraying petitioner's baseless allegations as facts," Card wrote in the motion. "Questionable and inflammatory allegations outweighs any opposing interests in keeping the record public."

These allegations include that Nathan Herbert, 39, had been stalking and harassing the younger sister of a woman he was charged with stalking in 2005.

In that case, the record was sealed and the victim and her family had a three-year restraining order on Nathan Herbert. He was also ordered to attend a life skills class and pay a $100 fine.

But those three years were up last March and starting in January, the younger sister began calling police, telling them Nathan Herbert had been following her. One instance recorded says the victim, Aiona Butters, had been standing in line at Orem City Library and felt like she was being watched. When the 26-year-old turned around she said she saw the defendant standing about one foot from her just staring at her and smiling.

In August, Butters said he was leaving the gym and upon seeing her pull up, he circled her car several times and then he followed her into the gym where she said bystanders she did not know told her he was touching himself while watching her.

"If he does not get help or does not change, I fear somebody is going to get hurt," Butters said. Butters has been married for seven years and said she has never even spoken with Nathan Herbert. After these incidents, though, she said she fears for her safety. She sold the car he circled her in, doesn't go out of her home without her husband or father, and has even considered moving to evade any more run ins.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he can be a great person, but when he sees specific girls there is a change that takes place," Butters said. "I just want to feel like I can go places and be safe."

In 2005, Nathan Herbert was also charged with simple assault, a class B misdemeanor, after Butters said he blocked her sister's car from leaving a parking lot and got out and choked her. The charge was dismissed a year and a half later, but court records do not indicate why. Butters said with her case now being public, she hopes that Nathan Herbert will see he cannot do this anymore.

"I don't think any criminals should get special treatment for breaking the law," Butters said. "I am hoping that he will take responsibility for his actions and he will recognize how inappropriate his actions are."

In August, Butter's lawyer, Stephen Quesenberry, filed an opposition to the motion to seal the case. In it, he stated that keeping the record open outweighs the "respondent's family's privacy interests."

"Respondent is a 39-year-old adult, who lives on his own and who is responsible for his own actions," Quesenberry stated. "The fact's of this case are not even remotely close to those of an adoption or a confidential informant that require extreme privacy and protection. Rather, we have a simple stalking injunction that should be tried quickly and judiciously in open court."

At press time, the defendant's lawyer was unavailable for comment.

E-mail: slenz@desnews.com

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Sara Lenz

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