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TABIONA, Duchesne County — A Tabiona town councilman accused of sending explicit messages to a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty to criminal charges Monday.
Jason Dan Hoyt, 25, pleaded guilty in 8th District Court to amended charges of stalking, a class A misdemeanor, and lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, court officials confirmed. Hoyt had originally been charged with enticing a minor over the Internet, a class A misdemeanor.
Hoyt is expected to be sentenced in May.
During a preliminary hearing, the 14-year-old girl testified that Hoyt, 25, began to send her sexually explicit Facebook messages shortly after she accepted his "friend request" in December.
Police contacted the girl after receiving an anonymous tip. The teen provided investigators with screenshots of the councilman's messages, which allegedly asked the girl if she was sexually active, if she had ever engaged in a specific sex act and if she would go for a ride alone with him on Tabby Mountain.
Hoyt told investigators from the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office he believed the girl was 17 years old.
Hoyt was sworn in as a member of the Tabiona Town Council in January 2014. He still held the seat at the time of his initial court appearance. Tabiona Mayor Charlie Strebel Jr. refused to confirm Monday whether Hoyt is still on the council.
Hoyt's wife, Ashley Winona Hoyt, pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor, on the same day her husband was ordered to stand trial last month.
Ashley Hoyt was charged after detectives investigating her husband arrived to serve a search warrant at the home and found the couple's three children — ages 5, 2 and 1 at the time — alone at the house. The 5-year-old girl informed detectives that she was caring for her siblings while their mother was shopping.
Ashley Hoyt was located 50 miles away in Roosevelt.
Ashley Hoyt's no-contest plea will be held in abeyance and then dismissed if she pays $100 to the court and violates no other laws in the next six months, according to terms of her plea agreement.