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Ex-deputy sentenced to prison in strip searches case

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SALT LAKE CITY — A former Box Elder County sheriff's deputy was sentenced to prison Monday in connection with illegal strip-searches of women during traffic stops.

Scott R. Womack, 37, was ordered to spend 18 months in federal prison to be followed by one year of supervised release by U.S. District Judge David Sam. He was ordered to begin serving the sentence Oct. 14.

Womack previously pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law in May. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop six additional counts.

Womack admitted that in late September or early October 2011, he pulled a woman over for allegedly not having insurance. During the stop, he lied to her about having an outstanding warrant. He told her he could verify she wasn't the person if she showed him her tattoos. He threatened to arrest her unless she undid her pants to show him her pelvic area and lower back, according to his plea agreement.

In a July 2010 traffic stop, Womack admitted the same ruse and that he threatened to arrest a woman if she didn't expose her lower back and stomach. He also asked her to lower her shirt to reveal her chest but she refused, according to the agreement.

Two civil lawsuits against Womack are pending in federal court.

According to one suit, several women complained to the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office with similar stories about Womack. One woman said she called the office about the incident and was told: "I don't think officer Womack is that type of person."

Womack is facing misconduct charges in 1st District Court and pleaded no contest to attempted custodial sexual misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of custodial sexual misconduct, a class B misdemeanor, earlier this year. He is to be sentenced in that case Aug. 21.

Sam ruled that Womack could serve his federal prison sentence concurrent to any sentence imposed in the state case.

Womack quit the sheriff's office in March 2011.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam