Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
PROVO — A former Kanosh assistant fire chief was sentenced to between one and 15 years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to four second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse.
Austin James Corry, 29, of Kanosh, Millard County, was charged in 2018 with sexually assaulting and raping a female firefighter who he supervised after she brought police an audio recording of a sexual encounter where she continuously asked him to stop. The victim said that she was assaulted multiple times between 2015 and 2018 and that she reported the abuse to the fire chief, Corry's father, but that it kept happening.
"Every day I live with the fact that this happened. My life has changed in every way," the victim said at the sentencing.
She said she left her job and moved out of the state and away from family because of her embarrassment and humiliation. She said she is constantly angry and doesn't know how to feel normal again.
"I want you to feel what it's like to feel the way that I do every single day, the way I've felt for the last seven years and to know what you have done is not OK. And I am not all right. Austin, you knew what you did to me. You knew what you did was wrong. You knew I didn't want it to happen but continued to do it. You continually apologized to me and told me you would never do it again, (it) would not ever happen again. Somehow I'm the one paying the price," she said.
She said that it felt like he was abusing his authority as a supervisor to assault her inside the fire department, a place where she should have been safe.
Corry was placed on administrative leave and suspended after he was first arrested. His father, Scott Corry, pled guilty to obstructing justice for not looking into or passing on the reports and served 12 months of probation.
Austin Corry was also was charged shortly afterward with the rape of a second woman who delivered cookies to him at the Kanosh Fire Station in November 2016. Charges in that case were dropped as part of the plea deal in this case, which the prosecutor said both victims agreed to.
Ryan Peters, Juab County attorney, expressed concerns at the hearing that Corry is not taking responsibility for his actions. He said that Corry seems to blame his father for his confession to police. Peters also said that he seems to blame the victim as well and still does not understand why she brought charges against him.
Peters called this a "rewriting of history" and cited the victim's recordings which were played during the preliminary hearing where she said more than 40 times that she wanted him to stop.
"She was not happy to be there. She was uncomfortable. She asked him to stop," Peters said.
He said Corry had admitted previously that he knew she had told him to stop six or seven times and that he had sexual problems that he needed to address; however, more recently he was blaming other people and circumstances and saying that there was only a problem because the victim was married. He said it seemed as if Corry forgot that he had pleaded guilty, which shows that Corry is a risk to the public.
When Corry spoke at the sentencing, he continued to show some of these behaviors that Peters found concerning. He addressed Peters' comments and said that there were some things he was not able to bring forward that give more information about those statements. He said he was having an affair with the victim and that he considered things to be consensual, but that he should not have had an affair with her and said he was apologetic for that.
Corry said that he learned a lot during his time in jail and that he is sorry for what the victim has gone through and hopes that she can move forward and heal. He told the judge he wanted to go through counseling himself and asked for a probationary sentence.
"I am truly, to the bottom of my heart, sorry for everything that has happened," Corry said.
Judge Anthony Howell said that it is clear that the victim knew that she was going to be assaulted, leading to her starting to record on her cellphone. Howell said that Corry abused his supervisor position and agreed with Peters that Corry blames the victim and on various other points.
Overall, Howell said that he considers the aggravating circumstances to outweigh the mitigating circumstances in the case. He said that he would recommend that the sentences for each of the four counts run concurrently because that was agreed to by both attorneys when they reached the plea deal. He also suggested that Corry receive credit for the two years he already served in jail.
Howell also sentenced Corry to pay $1,000 which would be given to the Utah Office for Victims of Crime and said that if the victim receives counseling she could add that bill to Corry's restitution and encouraged her to do so.