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Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Ex-symphony leader charged with sexual misconduct with teen musician

By Annie Knox, KSL | Updated - Nov. 15, 2018 at 9:41 p.m. | Posted - Nov. 15, 2018 at 8:07 p.m.

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PROVO — A former longtime director of a Utah County youth orchestra program was charged Thursday with sexual misconduct with a teenage musician several years ago.

Brent E. Taylor, 70, of Provo, is charged in 4th District Court with forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony. He retired last year after more than four decades with the Utah Valley Youth Symphony.

Taylor was the focus of a Deseret News investigation published in April outlining sexual misconduct accusations from six men. Three of them said Taylor either sexually abused them or inappropriately touched them when they were teenage employees of the orchestra.

A fourth man also recalled sexual interactions with Taylor as a young teen and said the man provided him with alcohol and marijuana. Another accuser filed a police report in 2011 alleging that his brother-in-law had been abused by Taylor as a youth. A sixth man, also a former orchestra employee, described lewd activities at Taylor's home when he spoke to police in 2011.

The alleged victim in Thursday's criminal charge is not one of those six men.

Taylor's attorney, Cara Tangaro, said Thursday her client denies the allegations. The executive director of the youth symphony, Kameron Conley, declined to comment, saying he didn't know anything about the charge.

"There is nothing else for me to respond on as Brent Taylor is no longer a part of the organization," Conley said.

On April 30, two days after the Deseret News story was published, the man told investigators about repeated sexual encounters with Taylor during his high school years, from 2002 to 2006, when he was a member of the symphony, charging documents state.

"Given that Mr. Taylor was an adult who occupied a position of special trust, and that (the musician) was under 18 years old, these sexual acts were perpetrated without (the teen's) consent," prosecutors wrote in the charges, noting that Taylor was in his 50s at the time.

The symphony leader's authority "enabled him to exercise undue influence" on the boy, the charges state.

The man told investigators that when he was a teenager, Taylor offered and requested oral sex from him, and he "relented" and allowed Taylor to perform oral sex on him in 2004 or 2005 before stopping Taylor about five seconds later, according to the charges.

He "described that other male members of the symphony were involved in these sexual activities sometimes," investigators wrote in the court documents.

Officers previously received complaints from four other men who described "similar sexual activity" with Taylor when they were teenagers, the charges say. "Offenses alleged by those people had expired under the statute of limitations and could not be pursued," investigators wrote.

Sandy police detectives are reviewing similar allegations against Taylor and plan to meet with prosecutors next week to discuss their evidence, Sandy police spokesman Jason Nielsen said Thursday.

The alleged victim in the case filed Thursday described a "sexual grooming process," telling officers that Taylor invited him and other male symphony members to his Provo home, providing them with alcohol, pornography and sex toys "to use while in his residence and presence. This progressed to incidents of group masturbation involving multiple boys, as well as mutual manual stimulation" between the teen and Taylor, charging documents state.

Taylor reassured him by telling him "it was natural for boys to be sexually curious and experimental," according to the charges.

The man recalled in the police interview that he and Taylor would massage each other before and after removing their clothing and Taylor would invite him into the hot tub "while both of them were naked."

Taylor also allegedly invited other boys into his hot tub, discussing sex with them, the man reported.

The man's allegations include several instances of forcible sexual abuse, but the statute of limitation expired in 2013, the charging documents say.

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