clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


A Kaysville man who punched a U.S. Supreme Court justice in 1982 to protest the court's liberal stand on pornography was sentenced Tuesday to five years to life in prison for fondling and sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.

Newton C. Estes, 63, was given concurrent prison terms by 2nd District Judge Douglas L. Cornaby on his guilty plea to charges of attempted sexual abuse of a child and dealing in material harmful to a minor.Estes told the judge he is sorry for the incidents and ashamed of what happened. But he maintained he is not a threat to the community, describing himself as a gentle, non-violent man who gets along well in his neighborhood.

The judge, however, disagreed. Referring to another incident 39 years ago involving Estes and another 6-year-old girl, the judge said he believes Estes does present a threat to the children in the community.

Cornaby said Estes has shown a pattern of getting close to children in his neighborhood, then breaking down the bonds between the children and their parents in an attempt to dominate and set them up for a sexual relationship.

Estes disputed the report concerning the earlier incident, which was prepared for the court by Adult Probation and Parole. Estes said it took material elicited from him in confidence and from neighbors, then twisted it to make him look bad. Estes also filed a notice of appeal, saying he is being sentenced on the basis of information he did not have a chance to refute.

Defense attorney Steve Vanderlinden appealed for jail, rather than prison time, saying sending a 63-year-old man to prison would be devastating to him. Estes' only earlier brush with the law was the assault charge resulting from his 1982 attack on White.

"I feel terrible," Estes said initially, adding he's ashamed of the problems he caused his family and the family of the victim, an 11-year-old neighborhood girl Estes hired to perform housekeeping chores while his wife was in the hospital.

The incidents occurred in Estes' home at 372 E. Seventh North last summer and again in January of this year.

Estes said he suffered "a loss of control" during the incidents, in which he showed the girl pornographic material, asking her to assume the same poses as in the pictures. In the January incident, according to court records, Estes also fondled the girl, offering her an additional $5 that day.

Estes and Cornaby discussed the 1982 assault on White, which occurred when the justice was at a Salt Lake hotel to address the Utah Bar Association.

Estes said he didn't intend to hurt White when he punched him three times in the head, an incident recorded by local TV news cameras and rebroadcast nationally.

"I didn't want to hurt him; I didn't even hit him hard enough to knock off his glasses," Estes said, adding he did it to gain a forum in front of a jury to expound his feelings against the high court's rulings on pornography and school busing. "If I had hit him any less hard, he would have just thought I was there to hand him a piece of paper," Estes said.

Judge Cornaby refused to get into a discussion with Estes about pornography or other legal side issues. But he said he believes the assault on White had nothing to do with the justice's stand on pornography but was more an attempt by Estes to get someone to protect him from himself.

Estes was convicted more than a year later of assault charges, paid a $500 fine and spent 10 days in jail.

Estes was charged in February of this year with one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony that carries a prison term of five years to life and minimum mandatory sentence of 5, 10 or 15 years. He was also charged with showing harmful or pornographic material to a minor, a third-degree felony that carries a zero-to-five-year prison term.

In a plea negotiation, he pleaded guilty to the harmful materials charge and a count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, still a first-degree felony, but which carries no minimum mandatory term.