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SALT LAKE CITY — A 3rd District judge reduced the bail of former Brighton High and USC linebacker Osa Masina Friday as he awaits a March trial for sexual assault.
But the judge also imposed several conditions to his release that were not previously in place.
Judge Keith Kelly said he was persuaded to reduce the 19-year-old’s bail from $250,000 to $100,000 over objections from both prosecutor Langdon Fisher and victim advocate Bethany Warr because of a report filed with the court from Salt Lake County Justice Services.
The report found that not only is Masina, who has been free on bail since he was charged, a low to moderate flight risk, but he is also a low to moderate risk to the victim and witnesses.
Masina is charged with forcible rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, first-degree felonies, stemming from an incident in July of 2016 in Cottonwood Heights.
“This in no way suggests that I don’t believe the crime to be of a serious nature,” Kelly said in Friday's hearing. “This is a very serious crime. But by ordering the release to be (monitored) by Pretrial Services, he’ll have added conditions that he does not currently have to comply with.”
Those conditions include a daily check-in with Pretrial Services, orders that he continue to have no contact with the alleged victim or witnesses in the case, that he attend counseling as directed, does not use alcohol or illegal drugs, and submits to random drug testing.
Pretrial Services is a county program designed to provide supervision to defendants to help make sure they appear at their court hearings and reduce episodes of new criminal activity.
While Fisher argued that the weight of monetary penalties have traditionally been most effective in ensuring compliance from criminal defendants, defense attorney Greg Skordas argued that not only would the Pretrial Services recommendations provide some relief for the Masina family financially, but it would also provide more protection for everyone, including the alleged victim.
“It’s a little unusual to ask that bail be modified after (it’s been posted),” Skordas said. “But when in posting a bail of that amount, it has caused tremendous hardship on the family that continues monthly. It seems to me, given his complete lack of criminal history, the fact that he came here, surrendered, has cooperated with police from the beginning and never had an issue with this court … including that there has been no communication or even alleged communication with any of the state’s witnesses, that there be some modification to allow his family to get out from underneath this burden.”
In his arguments to Kelly, Skordas said imposing a bail of $250,000 is unusual in a crime of this nature.
“This was an extraordinary amount,” he said, pointing out that most defendants deal with $50,000 to $100,000. “This is more like what you see in homicide cases or with people who have extensive criminal records. This is neither of those. … He’s done everything that’s been asked, and he’s not a risk.”
Afterward, Warr said that while they were disappointed with the reduction, they’re pleased with the added protections. Skordas called the decision “a win-win.”
Kelly also set the trial for March 28-30 with April 3 if necessary.
“We don’t have all of the evidence that we think is out there,” Skordas said. “That’s the only holdup.”