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Ex-Grantsville football coach now faces felony sex charges

Curtis Ware, the former head football coach of Grantsville High School, who was previously charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and lewdness, now faces numerous felony charges.
Curtis Ware, the former head football coach of Grantsville High School, who was previously charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and lewdness, now faces numerous felony charges.
Tooele County Sheriff's Office

TOOELE — The former head football coach of Grantsville High School, who was previously charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and lewdness, now faces numerous felony charges.

Curtis Lee Ware, 48, of Stansbury Park, was charged over the weekend in Tooele County's 3rd District Court with forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; four counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and four counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor.

In September, Ware was arrested and charged in Grantsville Justice Court with five counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, and four counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor. The alleged illegal activity happened between May 23 and Aug. 26, according to charging documents.

In light of the new charges, the city attorney of Grantsville filed a motion on Tuesday for the justice court case to be dismissed.

Tooele County Attorney Chief Deputy Gary Searle said Tuesday that his office wasn't ready to file charges a few months ago. But since then, most evidence has been collected and the justice court agreed to dismiss its case in light of charges being filed in district court.

The alleged victims are two girls, ages 16 and 17. One of the girls posted on her Facebook page in September that she considered Ware a "father figure" at one point in her life, but she later deleted her Facebook account.

At the time the misdemeanor charges were filed, police noted that alleged illegal activity in Cedar City was also being investigated.

Searle said the forcible sodomy charge against Ware stems from an incident that occurred during a football camp in Cedar City. That charge is combined with the Tooele allegations and will be prosecuted there, he said.

According to the new charges, the forcible sodomy occurred between July 12-15, the sexual exploitation of a minor between June 20 and Aug. 26, and the other incidents happened between May 23 and Aug. 26.

The sexual exploitation of a minor charges stem from allegations of the girls taking pictures on their cellphones.

"We're alleging that he asked that they take the photos, that they not send them to him — obviously that creates a paper trail, so to speak," Searle said. "They would dress as he asked them to dress, take the photos and them show him the pictures."

The popular teacher and coach was a second-year head coach and "long-term substitute teacher" at Grantsville High School.

Ware, a graduate of Grantsville High, was hired as head football coach in late 2014. He taught language arts, according to the school's website. Before that he went back and forth as an assistant coach between Grantsville and Stansbury high schools.

During a court hearing Tuesday, many members of the community came out to support him.

"He has a lot of support from football players, from staff, from people in the community. They definitely back him. He's well-loved in this community and they definitely support him," said defense attorney Susanne Gustin.

Gustin said she does not anticipate a plea deal because Ware is maintaining his innocence.

Contributing: Sam Penrod