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YOUTH WHO FACES ADULT CHARGES JOINS GROWN-UPS IN JAIL

SHARE YOUTH WHO FACES ADULT CHARGES JOINS GROWN-UPS IN JAIL

For perhaps the first time in his young life, Benjamin Dutchie's in the company of accused criminals with more prolific records than himself.

Granted, most of the 15-year-old's fellow inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail have had a few more years to pad their offense records.Dutchie was transferred to the jail from youth detention Tuesday after being charged as an adult for 10 felonies ranging from armed robbery to sexual assault.

In all, the youth faces two counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and single counts of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse of a child - all first-degree felonies. A second-degree theft charge was also included in Tuesday's 3rd Circuit Court complaint.

Dutchie is accused of casing Salt Lake area homes last March by knocking on doors and asking for "Jennifer" in an reported attempt to find vulnerable victims.

The ploy led him to force his way into two houses where he held elderly homeowners at gunpoint while he robbed them, striking one in the head with the butt of his pistol, the complaint said.

The gun later turned out to be a Daisy air pistol.

Prosecutors say Dutchie later made residents drive to automated teller machines and withdraw cash. In one of the robberies, he tried to rip down the pants of a female victim after returning from her bank and then stole her family car, the complaint said.

The teen also molested a 5-year-old girl he was baby-sitting on January 18, the charges state.

Despite the objections of Youth Correction officials, Dutchie was certified last month to stand trial as an adult. Prosecutors justified the decision, saying the crimes were well-planned, adult-like and posed a violent risk to the public.

Third District Juvenile Judge Franklyn Matheson - who presided at Dutchie's certification hearing - agreed, saying "Maybe decision is wrong. I guess if it is, I'll answer to my maker."

Dutchie first ran afoul of the law when he was 9 years old. He has appeared before juvenile judges dozens of times since for offenses ranging from animal cruelty to shoplifting and burglary.