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Utah Olympic gold medalist facing child sex abuse charge

Attorney says charges are completely unfounded

Olympic gold medalist Jimmy Shea smiles prior to Mitt Romney speaking with 2002 SLOC volunteers and staff members in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18, 2012. Shea is now faces charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sexual battery.
Olympic gold medalist Jimmy Shea smiles prior to Mitt Romney speaking with 2002 SLOC volunteers and staff members in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18, 2012. Shea is now faces charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sexual battery.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PARK CITY — A Utah resident and Olympic gold medal winner has been accused of sexually abusing a child.

James “Jimmy” Edmond Shea, 52, of Park City, was charged March 24 in Summit County’s 3rd District Court with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.

His initial appearance in court was held via videoconferencing on Monday. The judge ordered Shea to have no contact with his alleged victim and set the next hearing for April 5.

The alleged abuse happened in Park City in 2020 and involved a preteen girl, according to charging documents.

Shea’s attorney, however, says the charges are completely unfounded.

Rudy Bautista believes there are a couple of possible factors that led to the allegations. One of them is that innocent touching was misconstrued as something else. Some of the allegations accuse Shea of smacking or hitting the girl’s buttocks, according to charging documents.

James “Jimmy” Edmond Shea, 52, of Park City, was charged March 24 in Summit County’s 3rd District Court with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor. Shea won a gold medal during the 2002 Winter Olympics in skeleton racing.
James “Jimmy” Edmond Shea, 52, of Park City, was charged March 24 in Summit County’s 3rd District Court with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor. Shea won a gold medal during the 2002 Winter Olympics in skeleton racing.
Summit County Jail

Bautista said nothing his client is accused of doing was done for sexual gratification. In the case of touching her buttocks, he believes it was done more to hurry the girl along, he said. This case should give “every parent, guardian, schoolteacher or coach” concern about having allegations levied against them for innocent touching, Bautista said.

He also believes a dispute with the girl’s mother may have also had a role in the allegations being made.

Bautista said he is surprised that charges were even filed against Shea because he contends there is “no corroborating evidence.”

“It’s all a ploy,” he said of the allegations.

Bautista said he looks forward to presenting evidence in an effort to have the charges dropped. “Otherwise we’ll have our day in court,” he said.

Shea won a gold medal in skeleton racing at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.