PROVO — Two charges of child sodomy and sex abuse against a convicted child molester who once had a McGruff Safe House sign hanging in the window of his Orem home have been dropped.

What happened?

"The Supreme Court happened," said Mariane O'Bryant, a deputy Utah County attorney.

O'Bryant is referring to a March U.S. Supreme Court ruling that, in effect, makes videotaped testimony of the child victim in the case against Carl Jensen unusable.

The high court said in its decision in Crawford vs. Washington that any taped evidence can be presented as long as the person on the tape can be cross-examined on the stand.

But the child in this case would not be able to withstand the pressure at Jensen's trial, which was scheduled to start Monday in Provo's 4th District Court.

"(The ruling) says that there's an absolute constitutional right to confrontation," she said.

Although prosecutors must drop the two charges, Jensen has been convicted on six other child sex abuse charges.

"He's in prison, probably for the rest of his life, we hope," O'Bryant said.

Jensen has been sentenced to six prison terms after pleading guilty to molesting four children ages 4 to 15 in his home between 1990 and 2002.

None was molested as a result of going to Jensen's house looking for safe haven.

Several other charges against Jensen were dismissed in March because a victim's family decided not to have the child testify.

Richard Gale, a public defender appointed by the court to prepare Jensen's legal defense, asked the judge to require the child to testify at trial.

Fourth District Court Judge Anthony Schofield agreed that the testimony would be required at trial. But because the child had been unable to testify at the preliminary hearing, it was determined he would be unable to testify at trial.

"At the preliminary hearing, he couldn't testify enough to sustain any kind of charge, so the likelihood is he wouldn't be able to do that at trial either," Gale said. "The state decided not to go forward because they couldn't prove their case."

O'Bryant planned to show the jury a videotaped interview.

Gale said he has not talked directly to Jensen; rather he has relayed the message that Jensen would not be going to trial.

"I'm sure he prefers that (dismissed charges) to going to trial," Gale said. "He's already in prison and is probably going to be there for the next 30 years, so it doesn't make much of a difference as to when he's going to get out of prison. The only difference it makes is he isn't convicted of abusing this child."


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