Man arrested after allegedly admitting to sex offense against child several years ago

Stock image | Photo by Barbol88/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A Cedar City man was arrested Wednesday after reporting to police he had committed a sex crime against a child several years ago. Police say the man also admitted to the crime in a Facebook chat.

Gary Heath Nay, 37, was booked into Iron County Jail on Wednesday afternoon. He faces a single charge of sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony.

Earlier that day, police detectives conducted a forensic interview with the alleged victim, a female who is now 13 years old and lives out of state. 

According to a probable cause statement filed in support of Nay’s arrest, the alleged incident happened in Cedar City six or seven years ago when the girl was 7.

According to the charging documents, the girl mentioned the alleged incident in an online chat with a member of Nay’s household, saying it had happened in the suspect’s bedroom several years ago. 

Iron County Jail booking photo of Gary Heath Nay, 37, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 13, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

At some point after that disclosure, which reportedly happened around September 2020, Nay’s wife became aware of the alleged incident and confronted her husband about it.

Nay reportedly did not deny the accusation when his wife confronted him, the charging documents state. He then drove out of state to speak to the 13-year-old’s parents and was gone for three days, according to the affidavit.

Later, after Nay returned to Cedar City, he was dropped off at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office by the father of the alleged victim. Nay spoke with detectives on Jan. 6 but was not arrested at that time. Cedar City Police detectives then followed up on the case by conducting interviews and collecting evidence. 

During the police interview conducted Wednesday, the girl reportedly corroborated the allegations, leading police to arrest Nay later that afternoon.

The probable cause statement indicates that police obtained a written confession made by Nay via Facebook chat to the girl’s father.

“Gary states how sorry and embarrassed he is about what he did,” the investigating officer wrote in the affidavit, describing the Facebook conversation. “He also states what he did was absolutely disgusting.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Nay had not yet made his initial court appearance.

A search of Utah public court records did not reveal any prior criminal history for Nay, other than minor traffic offenses.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement officials and court documents and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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