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Charges dropped against woman accused of having sex with teen



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Minutes before a trial was set to begin for a woman accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy, a judge dismissed the case.

The two-day trial was about to begin. In fact, a jury was picked Monday afternoon. But right before opening arguments, the state filed a motion to dismiss the case against Catherine Cates.

Cates' attorney John Walsh said, "I think it's a tragedy. She spent 61 days in jail facing life in prison times four, then to come to this kind of situation, but I don't fault the state."

He says Cates was breathless and began to cry when prosecutors told them their intentions Monday afternoon.

In December Cates was charged with four counts of rape of a child and one count of sexual abuse of a child for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old boy in her home in Millcreek. They were neighbors.

Prosecutors told the judge Monday afternoon, one of their witnesses provided new details that did not help their case. A spokesperson for the district attorney's office says the new details did not corroborate the alleged victim's story.

She says corroborating statements were important in this case because they had little physical evidence.

Cates' attorney told us the witness prosecutors were talking about was Cates' former roommate. He didn't know what the new details were, but he said the roommate was going to testify that the boy told her he only had sex once or twice with Cates.

"She not only resided there, but she was present every time they allegedly had sex, and she would have testified that she never either believed it or observed that they had any kind of sexual encounter," Walsh said.

Because a jury had been picked, the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning prosecutors cannot refile charges.

E-mail: syi@ksl.com

Sandra Yi

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