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Juab man faces trial over liaison with girl

PROVO — A jury trial date has been set in the case of Juab County man, charged with having sex with a 12-year-old girl and then marrying her with her father's permission when she turned 14.

Steven Marshall is charged with one count of sodomy upon a child and 20 counts of child rape, all first-degree felonies.

Prosecutors say although the alleged incidents took place in 1994, the case didn't come to light until a contentious divorce between Marshall and the victim, who is now 20. Deputy Utah County attorney Mariane O'Bryant said the victim kept a calendar of the times she and Marshall had sexual intercourse starting when she was 12 and Marshall was 35. Marshall eventually asked the victim's father for her hand in marriage when she turned 14. O'Bryant said the father was unaware of the prior sexual contact.

The couple was married in August 1996 and the two conceived a child. At the time, Utah law allowed the marriage of 14-year-old minors with the consent of one of their parents.

Marshall's attorney, Randy Kester, said the charges are simply part of a larger custody battle over the child. Marshall has custody, Kester said.

On Thursday, 4th District Judge Fred Howard set a three-day hearing to start Dec. 1. O'Bryant said there is a chance the trial could be moved to Juab County because most of the parties reside there. If convicted, Marshall faces a mandatory sentence of 6-, 10- or 15-years to life in prison on each count, depending on the aggravating or mitigating circumstances.