LAYTON — Last summer, Nikki Weekes’ 9-year-old son heard a knock on their front door in Layton and swung it open, expecting to greet his father.
Instead, a man who lived down the street stood at the threshold with a mug he said he wanted to return to the boy’s 15-year-old sister.
Weekes came to the door and said the cup was not theirs, but the neighbor, Chad Dee Flitton, insisted. She stood firm and he ultimately left.
”I was like, ‘What do I do about that?’” Weekes recalled. “It was just a guy with a weird cup saying that he wanted to talk to my daughter. Is that illegal?”
Her concern spiked when the girl told her mother she had spotted the man standing on the street outside her bedroom window earlier in the day.
Weekes called police, who issued Flitton a warning for trespassing, and eventually secured a civil stalking injunction against him.
Flitton at the time was on supervised release after serving 45 days in the Davis County Jail on a conviction of stalking, a class A misdemeanor. Police said he trailed an 11-year-old girl and her friends as they walked down a street a year earlier, then followed them into the corner of a Subway sandwich shop in Layton as they screamed in fear.
In an interview with police, Flitton admitted to following the girls “because he felt empty due to the fact that he could not see his own children anymore,” court records state.
The behavior fits a pattern from the 43-year-old that has raised alarm in Weekes’ suburban community and neighboring towns as it appears to escalate, with several saying Flitton has not faced meaningful penalties even as he has repeatedly violated terms of his probation.
The reports against him have prompted a northern Utah lawmaker to try to give law enforcers more tools to combat such behavior.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, now is seeking to expand the definition of stalking to include repeatedly harassing certain groups of minors, like those of a specific gender and age.
“This is a problem across the state. He happens to be the offender in my district that we’re concerned about,” Ray said in a recent interview. “You have these young teenage girls, 13- or 14-year-old girls who maybe for the rest of their lives are looking over their shoulders. Even if you put him in prison, what he’s done to them is going to have them scared and not trusting men or not trusting other people.”
Ray said he’s in the early stages of drafting a proposal.
A representative of the law firm that has most recently represented Flitton — Larsen, Larsen, Nash and Larsen — declined comment. A message left at a number believed to be Flitton’s was not returned.
Flitton is currently serving a nearly three-month term in the Davis County Jail on a probation violation after he admitted to following a 17-year-old girl into a Harmon’s grocery store at Farmington’s Station Park on July 6, where investigators say he tried to persuade her to engage in sexual behavior.
“He claimed to be a prophet and God wanted her to do this,” according to a report filed by probation officers who later investigated the incident and said they received several other reports of Flitton following other girls around the store. Employees eventually asked him to leave.
Adult Probation and Parole, “having dealt with Mr. Flitton for a significant period of time, understands this is typical stalking behavior for Mr. Flitton,” an agent wrote in a court affidavit.
Flitton admitted to the allegation last month and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation upon his release. In the meantime, Davis County prosecutors are weighing new potential criminal charges based on what happened inside the Harmon’s store.
In Layton, Weekes has installed a home security system and said her four kids walk the dog only when they know he’s jailed.
When police spoke to him about the mug, Flitton told them he had a dream that the cup belonged to the girl and he didn’t leave the house right away because he was sure it was hers, the police report states. Flitton told them he has “a lot of addictions he was dealing with. He also stated he had anxiety and stress since recently getting out of jail,” according to the report.
Flitton has seldom been accused of causing any physical harm, but he has a single conviction of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, in Box Elder County, after he admitted to touching a stylist’s buttocks while getting a shave at a salon in Brigham City. He spent roughly a month in jail there, about the same sentence he received in the Subway stalking case.
The stylist, Marlie Pali, said in an interview she at first believed the inappropriate touching was a mistake but when she moved away from him, she said Flitton tightened his grip.
“They need to stop just giving him a slap on the hand, because the slap on the hand is not doing anything to him. He doesn’t care. It’s going to take a really big punishment for him to finally, maybe have a reality check. I don’t know if he ever will, but he needs to be locked up because he keeps doing things,” Pali said.
Two 15-year-old girls, Sadie and Morgan, recalled going to Harmon’s on July 1 after a day at the nearby Lagoon amusement park. They sat down in an eating area when Flitton asked them to join him on a couch nearby. The teens, who asked to be identified only by their first names, said they declined his offer.
“We didn’t think much of it but he did give us that weird vibe,” Morgan recalled. They began recording silly videos on their phones a short time later, but left soon after when Flitton began following them, they recalled. They frantically told a store employee before running to a neighboring shop to hide.
They say they now look over their shoulders when in public.
“I’ve been nervous that we’ll see him again,” Sadie said.
Flitton’s earlier convictions include DUI, attempted stalking, and violating a protective order, a third degree felony for which he served jail time after a judge suspended a prison sentence. He pleaded no contest to voyeurism in Sandy after two teens filed a police report saying he looked under their stalls in the changing room at the Shops at South Town in February 2017.
The clock on his probation has restarted several times, including after he tested positive for methamphetamine at one point and told police to “shoot me in the head” after crashing his car in 2018.
His ex-wife, April Tribe Giauque, is among those dissatisfied with revolving jail sentences, and has sought to warn those in the area to stay vigilant. Though his convictions do not require him to register as a sex offender in Utah, the terms of his release from jail require no contact with minors.
”He always has a way of slipping past any felony. He always gets right up to the line,” Giauque said. “This pattern of behavior hasn’t changed.”
She has a protective order against Flitton, who she said showed growing signs of paranoia and aggression before she and their kids moved out of state years ago.
Police have also voiced frustration.
“It’s extremely alarming to us,” said Layton Police Lt. Travis Lyman. “Somebody who after having been confronted and arrested for something like that — that has not been a deterrent apparently in any way to continuing that type of behavior.”
Once he is released in October, 2nd District Judge Michael Edwards has ordered Flitton to complete any recommended treatment following a mental health evaluation. Though Flitton has received similar orders in several other cases, the extent of his rehabilitation isn’t clear. In November, court records show, evaluators determined that no treatment was needed.
Police have at times determined that less severe allegations of misconduct against Flitton are not criminal. They include a 2016 report that he asked a group of young girls at a Maverik gas station in Farr West to get into his car — an allegation that he denied, according to a Weber County sheriff’s report.
The responding officer allegedly smelled alcohol on Flitton’s breath and called his father to take him home. Flitton’s father told police his son was bipolar, “that he does have some mental deficiencies” and had an issue with alcohol, the sheriff’s report says.
With such prior reports in mind, prosecutors had sought to keep Flitton behind bars for longer than the three months he currently is serving, said Layton City Attorney Steve Garside.
“It is concerning to me. A lot of times in these situations, we’ll see this type of conduct escalate,” Garside said. “You can give somebody all the treatment classes in the world, but if they don’t elect to change their behavior or recognize the impropriety of it, it’s likely we’ll see them again.”
Rob Wesemann, executive director of the Utah affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said those with mental illness in the Beehive State generally have a very difficult time getting access to services.
“What ends up happening, because of the untreated illness, is that people engage in these illegal activities. Where treatment would be the best option, our intervention is law enforcement,” Wesemann said.
Court records do not show any indication that Flitton has been referred to mental health court, which prioritizes treatment over penalties. Spots in those programs generally are reserved for those accused of felonies, while Flitton has largely faced misdemeanors.
Though a concern for his community, Flitton falls outside the area of biggest concern for those overseeing Utah’s criminal justice system. He remains under supervision and has been referred to treatment in the past, though doctors and therapists who evaluated him in February 2018 did not recommend any mental health treatment. Instead, a judge recommended a substance abuse evaluation.
Most recently, in July, a Layton judge told Flitton he would give him “one more chance.” Prosecutors pushed back, saying Flitton has had opportunities to work on his issues but continues to harass young girls.
After reviewing Flitton’s case file, Marshall Thompson, with the Utah Sentencing Commission, noted that Flitton poses a high risk of reoffending, but an apparent low need for rehabilitation — a category that fails to point to any clear solutions.
“I think the takeaway is that in any criminal justice system, there’s going to be some really tough cases that are right on the line. That’s where we have to rely on the discretion of prosecutors and the discretion of judges,” Thompson said.
Weekes, Flitton’s neighbor who also is a teacher at Layton High School, said she sometimes hears students say Flitton has followed them around the mall.
She doesn’t want to overblow her neighbor’s behavior, but encourages high schoolers and others who spot his concerning conduct, including her students, to report it to authorities.
“We brush it off because don’t want to have to deal with it. We want to be able to comfortable and trust each other,” Weekes said. “The facts will need to come out so they can be handled properly.”