CEDAR CITY — A former Southern Utah University student was sentenced and fined last week after entering into a plea agreement for a reduced charge of attempted sexual assault on rape charges that originated in 2013.
According to the court docket, 5th District Judge Keith Barnes sentenced Aaron Jeffery Price based on a November 2014 plea agreement.
The court was provided a letter from the victim and heard testimony from the victim’s mother, according to the docket. A psychosexual evaluation had also been completed in the case and the judge heard the testimony of Eric Philpot and Derrick Bonney in support of Price.
The judge sentenced Price to a prison sentence of up to five years, which he then suspended and ordered Price serve 180 days, less two days credit for time-served, in the Iron County Jail to be served on weekends beginning Thursday (see Ed. note below). Price is also subject to a 36-month probation order.
The judge fined Price $9,533 including a $33 surcharge, and then suspended that fine except for the $33 surcharge. He also ordered Price pay $1,129.15 restitution to the victim; pay for any counseling she may have undergone; register as a sex offender and abide by the accompanying restrictions of that registration.
On April 23, 2013, officers of the Cedar City Police Department met with a woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted, a probable cause statement filed in support of the initial arrest said. The victim stated that Aaron Price, who was an SUU student and member of the SUU Rugby Club, had forcefully carried her to a bedroom, held her down, and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him.
After officials conducted a sexual assault examination, they discovered the victim had several injuries consistent with her description of what happened, the statement said. Forensic evidence was also gathered that corroborated her claims.
Once police located Price and interviewed him, the statement said, he did not deny the allegations.
“Price admitted to forcing the victim to have sexual intercourse with him,” the statement said. “He stated that she continued to tell him ‘no’ and fight him. … He stated that this was against the will of the victim.”
Price was arrested and booked into the Iron County Jail on $50,000 bail, which he later posted via bail bond, according to court records. The Iron County Attorney’s office brought first-degree rape charges against Aaron Jeffery Price by Information filed April 26, 2013.
Following multiple court hearings throughout the next year, Price pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2014, to a third-degree felony count of attempted forcible sexual assault as part of a plea agreement reached with Chief Deputy County Attorney Troy Little.
According to the SUU Rugby Club’s roster, Price is no longer a player on the team.
Price will begin his jail time at the Iron County Jail on Thursday.
Ed. note 6:35 p.m.: The sentencing date was Jan. 13. A stipulated motion on behalf of both the prosecution and the defense was signed on Jan. 21 and filed on Jan. 22 allowing for modification of the jail order such that Price may serve 180 days in either Iron County Jail or Salt Lake City Adult Detention Center; no provision for serving that time on weekends is included in modification. As of Thursday night, no order of the court on the parties’ joint motion has been posted to the case on the court docket. This report will be updated as any further orders of the court are made.
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