Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting 17-Year-Old Girl

Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting 17-Year-Old Girl

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A 17-year-old girl hugged prosecutors after the man accused of raping and sodomizing her pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault.

In exchange for Clarence Shedwood Branch entering the guilty plea to the first-degree felony Thursday, Davis County prosecutors dismissed another first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault charge and a first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping charge.

"I didn't want to testify, but I would've," the girl said afterward.

Branch, 40, of North Salt Lake also pleaded guilty to second-degree felony attempted rape and third-degree felony aggravated assault in two separate cases unrelated to the assault on the teenager.

Sentencing was set for Dec. 22.

According to court documents, Branch raped and forcibly sodomized the girl multiple times and locked her in a closet after she tried to escape. He also threatened to kill her multiple times.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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