Child sex abuse charges against former Salt Lake day care owner are dismissed

Child sex abuse charges against former Salt Lake day care owner are dismissed

(Davis County Jail)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A sexual abuse charge against a former day care owner was dismissed this week, with prosecutors citing the late timing of the allegations as too problematic to expect success at trial.

Ward Allen Bushman, 48, of South Jordan, was charged Sept. 6 in 3rd District Court with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. That charge was dismissed Thursday by 3rd District Judge Keith Kelly.

The charge was dismissed without prejudiced, meaning it could still be filed against Bushman in the future.

Charging documents had accused Bushman of touching a 5-year-old girl inappropriately sometime between September 1998 and May 1999 at his home day care in Salt Lake City. Court documents also alleged he acted in a lewd manner in front of the girl and engaged in sex with his wife "in front of all the children in the house."

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said prosecutors felt the timing of the accusations, nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse, created challenges in the case that made it unlikely they would be able to get Bushman convicted at trial.

Prosecutors filed a motion on March 2 requesting to dismiss the case.

"Shortly before the final pretrial, after (the) preliminary hearing, the state received discovery from (the defense). Based on this information the state is unable to proceed with this case at this time," the motion stated.

Gill said his office met with the alleged victim to explain their reasoning and that she was understanding of the challenges prosecutors were up against in the case.

Bushman pleaded not guilty on Nov. 18, a few weeks after his preliminary hearing.

Salt Lake police said in September that there was a "high likelihood" of other victims in the case and requested who attended his day care in the late 1990s to come forward with information. The investigation into Bushman took a year-and-a-half before the charge was filed, according to the agency.

Bushman was not running a day care when was charged, police confirmed at the time.

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Ben Lockhart

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