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Orem man’s sex abuse of kids nets 3 life terms

He admits guilt; victim testifies about trauma

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PROVO — Between heaving sobs, a young woman shared her story about sex abuse to an attentive courtroom Tuesday morning.

Steps away sat Joseph Durborow, the Orem man accused of sexually abusing her and other children.

"It's a really hard situation to be in," she told court officials. "He knew that I had someone perpetrate on me before, and he goes ahead and does it again."

For now, however, Durborow won't be doing much of anything besides sitting in jail.

Sentenced by a federal court last month to serve 10 years in a North Carolina prison on child pornography charges, Fourth District Judge Steven Hansen decided to sentence Durborow to three additional life terms in prison.

Under a plea deal struck with prosecutors, charges were limited to two counts of second-degree child sex abuse and three counts of attempted aggravated sex abuse of a child.

In return, Durborow admitted his guilt — something one victim's father said helped heal her.

"I accept responsibility for my action," Durborow tearfully told the judge. "I'm unable to express my sorrow for the mistakes I have made."

"I just hope he gets life in prison," said a person who is close to the victim who testified. "After all, he has taken away her life."

Other victims' family members expressed similar concern that Durborow suffer penalty for the pain inflicted on his victims.

Most of those girls, he said, had entered the Durborow home as neighborhood playmates or as foster children. Durborow and his wife had guardianship of 12 children at the time of his arrest.

Through his position of trust, Utah County prosecutor David Sturgill said, Durborow gained access to his victims.

"The devastation this has caused the victim simply cannot be taken away with prison time," Sturgill said.

Moved by Durborow's desire to receive counseling, Hansen sentenced the defendant to serve two sentences of 1 to 15 years, along with three sentences of 3 years to life in prison. All sentences will run concurrently with his federal sentence, which stemmed from charges that Durborow photographed minor females, including his 12-year-old adopted daughter, engaged in explicit sexual acts.

Durborow pleaded guilty to those charges as well.

At the federal trial, Durborow's family and friends rallied around him. At Tuesday's trial, their presence came in the form of numerous letters that pledged support to the defendant.

"It just makes me absolutely sick that his family is standing behind him," said the father of a victim. "He brought those girls into his home with no other reason but to perpetrate."

For the victim who testified, however, the details are unimportant. She said the most important thing is that sexual abuse be stopped.

"I wish it didn't happen by him or anyone else anymore," she said.

E-MAIL: lsanderson@desnews.com