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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Woman charged with sex with minor

WEST POINT — A 37-year-old Syracuse woman was arrested Sunday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.

Kerrie Lynn Ferguson faces four counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, all third-degree felonies, according to charges filed Monday in 2nd District Court.

A Davis County Sheriff's deputy spotted the woman and a 15-year-old girl in a parked car Sunday afternoon at Bingham Park, near 4550 West and 550 North. As the officer approached the vehicle, he found the two "in the act," Davis County Sheriff's Capt. Kenny Payne said.

The deputy placed Ferguson under arrest and released the girl to her parents. Payne said police believe the girl is a friend of Ferguson's daughter.

Officers booked Ferguson into Davis County Jail Sunday for investigation of several first-degree felony charges because police believed Ferguson was a person who had a relationship of special trust with the victim, said Steve Major, deputy Davis County Attorney. "But (we) couldn't show she (the girl) was under a type of special trust."

Utah law states a juvenile is not old enough to "consent" to sex until he or she is 16 years old, Major said. And even then, so-called consensual sex by minors is only defensible if the older party is less than 10 years older than the minor.

"The idea is we don't want 42-year-old men having sex with 16-year-old girls..." Major said. "It's less predatory if you're 18 and your girlfriend is 16."

It wasn't immediately clear if Ferguson would face an enhanced felony charge for being 22 years older.

She posted a $50,000 bail prior to her initial hearing in court Monday, which she did not attend.

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