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Former counselor at Panguitch school for troubled teens receives life sentence

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Nov 9th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

PANGUITCH — A former staff member of a southern Utah boarding school for troubled teens has been convicted of molesting some of the children housed there and sentenced to life in prison.

Eric Allen Glosson, 29, originally was charged in 6th District Court with four counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; four counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and two counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony.

In a plea deal reached Thursday, Glosson pleaded guilty to two counts of sodomy in exchange for the remaining counts being dismissed. He previously was convicted in federal court and sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on a child porn charges for videotaping the abuse.

The federal and state sentences will run consecutively, meaning Glosson must first complete serving his federal sentence before he can start serving his time at the Utah State Prison.

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"There were those that said I should have just gone with the federal charges only, but that would have meant Glosson would be out in 15 years, and I wanted to make certain that would never happen," Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington said in a prepared statement.

"Fifteen years isn't enough time when you molest children like this. This guy needed to serve the 15 years for making the video, and he also needed to serve time for the actual act he was doing," Huntington said.

In court documents, investigators identified at least seven victims between the ages of 13 and 17. The abuse happened between April and June 2011, court records state.

In 2011, attorneys for three of the victims filed a civil lawsuit, claiming managers of the 200-acre ranch in Panguitch were "woefully negligent in their oversight and supervision" of the students.

"Due to the absence of appropriate oversight, supervision and security policies, procedures and practices, Mr. Glosson was allowed to have repeated access to and time with individual students privately, in multiple locations and settings, including students over whom he was not a coach and had no supervisory duties," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit contended that Glosson already was fired once from the academy in 2009 for having inappropriate relations with students and later rehired. The suit was still being heard in federal court as of Friday.

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