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Ex-youth leader admits sexually abusing Utah boy while paying hush money

A former youth leader from Springville has admitted sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy while police say he paid him thousands of dollars in hush money. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
PROVO, Utah (KSL.com) — A former youth leader from Springville has admitted to sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy after police say he paid the boy thousands of dollars not to tell anyone.
Kevin Sykes, 55, pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to attempted aggravated sex abuse of a child and aggravated sex abuse of a child, first-degree felonies, plus three counts of forcible sexual abuse and four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree felonies.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dismissed charges in two of the three cases it addressed, and prosecutors also agreed to dismiss any cases against Sykes currently being investigated.
Sykes was charged with sexually abusing a young boy for years, beginning when the boy was 10 years old, and giving the boy as much as $15,000 to keep the abuse secret.
During one incident in 2019 when the boy told Sykes to stop because he did not like it, Sykes told him, “‘Too bad,’ and, ‘I’m paying you money not to say anything,’ and kept doing it,” charging documents state.
Police said Sykes was a youth leader in his church and interacted with boys the same age range as those found in the pornography on his phone. They also said Sykes claimed to be “mentoring” the child at the time, which put Sykes in a position of trust over the boy. The investigation into Sykes began after his boss reported suspected child pornography on his phone, charging documents say.
In a statement supporting his plea, Sykes admitted to knowingly possessing or viewing child pornography and to taking indecent liberties with someone over 14 to gratify sexual desire, and taking and attempting to take indecent liberties with a child to gratify sexual desire.
Sykes is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27.
Although the judge will determine the sentence, prosecutors and Sykes’s attorney agreed to recommend concurrent prison terms of 15 years to life and three years to life for the first-degree felony charges, and between one and 15 years in prison for the second-degree felonies.
The post Ex-youth leader admits sexually abusing Utah boy while paying hush money appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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