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3 charged in abuse of boy

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Brad Gale

Brad Gale

ROOSEVELT — Criminal charges were filed Wednesday in Utah and Salt Lake counties against three people in the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy, including the owner of two religious bookstores here and a deputy county attorney.

The Utah County Attorney's Office filed charges of forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse against Brad Gale, owner of Gale's Office Supply and Books in Roosevelt and Vernal. Gale, 48, who was arrested Wednesday about 7 p.m. on a $25,000 cash-only warrant, is already facing 33 felony charges in Duchesne County accusing him of sexually abusing the same teen over a five-year period. Court records in the case state that some of the abuse occurred in the back room of Gale's Roosevelt store, which sells scriptures and books by LDS authors.

The new charges against Gale stem from an incident investigators believe happened in the Provo home of 76-year-old John West.

According to an affidavit filed by Provo Police Sgt. Reed Van Wagoner, Gale took the boy to West's home in the summer of 2005. The teen was taken to a room in the home where he was bound at the wrists and ankles and sexually abused by Gale while West watched, Van Wagoner said.

West has also been charged with forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse by Utah County prosecutors.

Arrest warrants have been issued for both men.

Provo authorities began investigating the pair after Gale was arrested by Roosevelt police in July. Roosevelt detectives said they became aware of the suspected abuse when an Orem man contacted the Division of Child and Family Services, claiming that Gale had offered to let him have sex with the teen. The man also said that Gale had shown him Polaroids of the teen in various stages of undress.

The Utah Attorney General's Office believes the alleged abuse could have ended much sooner had Deputy Duchesne County Attorney Roland Uresk reported information he received during phone calls with an acquaintance in September 2005 and May 2006.

In past interviews, Uresk, the Democratic candidate for state Senate Seat 26, has confirmed that during both calls, he was told that Gale was sexually abusing the teen. However, Uresk characterized the information as "a rumor; nothing that needed to be turned in."

On Wednesday, Uresk was charged by the state in Salt Lake County Justice Court with two counts of willful failure to report a suspected case of child abuse, a class B misdemeanor.

Uresk, who did not respond to a message left on his cell phone Wednesday afternoon, has characterized the attorney general's handling of the case as an example of "partisan politics" in an election year. But several law-enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation said Uresk's version of events doesn't add up.

"I don't think he was an active participant in any of it," said one investigator, who asked not to be named. "But I think he had a lot more knowledge than what he's saying, because they wouldn't have charged him without that."

Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said there are no plans to discuss evidence or accusations against Uresk outside of court. Uresk is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on Sept. 22.

E-mail: geoff@ubstandard.com