(KUTV) A central Utah mom says her son was sexually abused at football practice, sparking an investigation that led to nine victims coming forward and three boys facing charges.
Everyone involved is a minor at Gunnison Valley High School, which is about 130 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Misty Cox said her son, who is a 14-year-old freshman, was at football practice last Monday when several boys held him down and another player “put his bottom and genitalia all over my son’s face.” Another player eventually intervened.
Three students are facing charges of forcible sexual abuse in that case.
Since then, other students have come forward, accusing one of the boys of other abuse.
“I gave another student a ride home after practice,” Cox said, “and as I was giving him a ride home, he was telling me that one of these same boys that assaulted my son had done something very similar to him.”
That incident took place outside a wrestling practice or meet, she said.
Detective Carl Wimmer of the Gunnison Police Department, who is also the school resource officer, was the one who called Cox to let her know what happened to her son. The 14-year-old was initially embarrassed, Cox said.
“As I was talking to witnesses for the original case, they were saying, ‘Well this has also happened, too,’” Wimmer said, “and they’d give me more information, or they would say, ‘It happened to me, but it happened another time.’”
In all, nine victims have come forward, according to Wes Mangum, the Deputy County Attorney for Sanpete County. They’re all tied to one boy, who is charged with five counts of forcible sexual abuse and six counts of object rape.
Some of the allegations date back months and others more than a year, Mangum said.
Neither Mangum nor Wimmer would disclose details of the allegations, although they said more victims and charges are possible.
The student facing 11 charges will have his first court appearance Oct. 9, Mangum said.
Cox is now working with the student council on a campaign to encourage others to share their stories and to report sex crimes to police.
“He was the victim and there’s nothing embarrass(ing about) being a victim of sexual assault and that he needed to stand up, speak out and be strong against these boys that had assaulted him,” Cox said.