Friday, April 8, 2011

Justice Is Served: Susan Brock Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Sexual Abuse Of A Teenage Boy In Arizona; Fulton Brock Comes Under Increasing Scrutiny

On April 7th, 2011, justice was finally served in the Susan Brock case. Susan Brock was sentenced to 13 years in prison for sexual abuse of a 14-year-old Chandler youth. After completion of sentence, she will be on lifetime probation and will have to register as a sex offender, renewing her driver's license yearly to enforce the registration. In addition, she will also be required to pay up $1 million in restitution to the families of the victim and his girlfriend.

All previous posts on this case available HERE, with the most recent post displaying first.

The sentencing range was anywhere from seven to 15 years. Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Carter Olson said he considered an argument by Brock's attorney that she also was a victim because she had been abused by her stepfather as a child. But Olson said that was outweighed by aggravating factors, including the length of time she abused the boy, and the impact the assaults, secrecy, isolation and dishonesty had on him and his family. Thus Judge Olson rejected the "abuse excuse" and imposed a prison sentence closer to the maximum. KPHO Channel 5 notes that Brock's sentence is more severe than other sentences prescribed in similar local cases, and provides a list of examples.

Originally, Susan Brock had been charged with 15 different offenses, to include two counts Molestation of Child, six counts Sexual Conduct with Minor, two counts Sexual Exploitation of Minor, three counts Obscene Material-Furnish to Minors and two counts Public Sexual Indecency. But on January 24th, 2011, Brock pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor after a settlement conference before Pinal County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Hank Gooday. The full account of Brock's activities with the boy is available HERE.

Impact upon Susan Brock's LDS Church membership: Because Susan Brock was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, questions continue to surface as to her membership status. According to the Church Handbook of Instructions Volume One (CHI-1), not available online, the LDS Church, in keeping with the 12th Article of Faith, respects the judicial presumption of innocence awarded to the accused. Consequently, the LDS Church does not normally act against an accused person's membership until after adjudication. This means an official verdict of guilty, because a pre-trial guilty plea can be withdrawn anytime up until sentencing. The bottom line: If Susan Brock is still a member of the LDS Church at this moment, there'll be a disciplinary council held and excommunication is the most likely penalty. But the LDS Church does not normally announce the results publicly in order to protect the privacy and dignity of the individual. Only if the recipient of Church justice goes public first will the Church respond publicly.

Loose ends: Three other people are still involved in this case; two are in the justice system, and the other is becoming increasingly under scrutiny.

-- Rachel Brock: On December 29th, 2010, Rachel Brock, the 21-year-old daughter of Susan Brock, was arrested on three counts of sexual conduct with the same 14-year-old boy and one count of transmitting obscene material, but was subsequently released because authorities did not have enough evidence to charge her at the time. She was re-arrested on March 25th and booked on five counts of misconduct with a minor and one count of furnishing obscene material to a minor. She pleaded not guilty on March 31st and her next court appearance is on May 13th before Commissioner Barbara Spencer. She remains in Maricopa County Jail. Rachel Brock actually began exploiting the victim before Susan Brock got hold of him.

-- Christian Hart Weems: A friend of Susan Brock; was arrested on December 28th, 2010 and charged with conspiracy to commit computer tampering or altering of data, computer tampering or altering of data, hindering prosecution, and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies; she is also accused of destroying and altering evidence in the personal email account of the boy Susan Brock has been charged with molesting over a three-year period.

-- Fulton Brock: Has come under increasing scrutiny over his personal behavior since Susan Brock's arrest. On April 4th, when Chandler detectives served a search warrant to get handwriting samples from Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, Brock initially threatened to call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office before allowing the warrant to be served. Furthermore, Fulton Brock has come under fire for bringing Susan food in jail, which is banned by the rules, and kissing his wife goodbye after a visit, all of this despite the fact that he has filed for divorce from Susan. Questions about Fulton Brock's behavior were further fueled by statements made by the prosecutor in the Susan Brock case, Jason Holmberg, who alleged in court that Fulton Brock not only knew about his wife's sexual encounters with the teenage victim, but also tried to hide evidence and then tried to help get his wife's charges reduced. Phone call recordings were played in court; in one call, Fulton Brock tells his wife he planned to set up a meeting with leaders of the LDS Church, the prosecutors, and the victim's family to try to get them to lessen the charges. Transcripts of some of those phone calls have since been published by the Phoenix New Times.

The LDS Church issued two official statements on January 26th and on April 6th saying that it is absolutely false to suggest that the LDS Church engaged in doing anything other than help bring the perpetrator to justice in this case.

No comments: