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Clinton woman to testify against husband in rapes

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A Clinton woman who is accused, along with her husband, of sexually molesting and raping four teenage girls has agreed to testify against her spouse as part of a plea bargain.

Barbara Lopez, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday in 2nd District Court to three counts of sexual abuse of a child, a third-degree felony, avoiding prosecution on nine other felony counts, including witness tampering, object rape, child rape and sexual assault.Police allege that Alex and Barbara Lopez nurtured friendships with teenage girls in their area, giving them drugs, alcohol and clothes, then forcing them into sex.

"She's very remorseful about this whole incident," said Jorge Galvez, attorney for Barbara Lopez.

Galvez said his client got a good deal because prosecutors knew that her involvement in the case was not as extensive as her hus-band's.

Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson said the prosecution needs Barbara Lopez's testimony in order to avoid putting the victims on the stand during trial.

Wilson said even though the four girls have given statements to police, most remain reluctant to testify in open court.

If called to testify, Barbara Lopez may be required to act as a witness in three separate jury trials her husband has requested.

Galvez said his client's agreement to testify has caused some tension in the marriage, but Troy Rawlings, attorney for Alex Lopez, said his client understands.

"Alex bears no ill-will towards Barbara at all," Rawlings said. "He understands she's doing what she has to do."

Rawlings said his client is maintaining his innocence in the whole ordeal. Alex Lopez, 39, remains in the Davis County Jail where he has been for almost a year since his arrest.

In court Tuesday Alex Lopez asked to be sent to the state hospital for a mental evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial. A competency hearing has been set for July 21.

Barbara Lopez, who now faces up to 15 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 11.