Man charged after alleged sex assault on U campus

Posted at 12:45 PM, Nov 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-13 13:02:17-05

SANDY, Utah - Sandy Police say a University of Utah employee kidnapped a woman from her bed, took her to the U campus and raped her.

Lonnie Norton, 49,  is in Salt Lake County jail facing a potential of six felonies and two misdemeanor charges. FOX 13 does not reveal the identity of sexual assault victims but we can tell you the woman was very familiar with Norton and took several steps to get away from him.

“Early Sunday morning, we received a 911 hang up call from a residence in Sandy, our officers responded to the scene to the house,” said Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold.

The victim moved in with relatives to get away from Norton but by the time police arrived, cops say Norton kidnapped the woman.

“He forced his way in through a back door,” said Arnold. “(He) took her phone away from her so she couldn’t dial 911, duct taped her so she’d stay quiet, threatened her, then took her in his vehicle up to the University of Utah where he works.”

Norton is head of information technology at the College of Humanities at University of Utah. Police say the crimes didn’t happen there but rather in a university building near Fort Douglas.

According to a probable cause statement, Norton had a key to the building, took the kidnapped victim there and raped her twice, in an office and bathroom. Police say she’s lucky she survived.

“He threatened that he was going to kill her, then kill himself, at some point he backed away from that statement,” said Arnold.

The victim says Norton took her back to his home in Salt Lake City, then later let her go in Sandy where she called 911.

“She did absolutely everything she could,” said Holly Mullen, executive director of Salt Lake City’s Rape Recovery Center.

The victim previously accused Norton of abuse and filed a protective order the night before Halloween. It had been in place for weeks and the case was going to be revisited November 27th.

Mullen says protective orders are not fail safe but work more often than not.

"I still think statistically, the number of protective orders granted even in 3rd District Court for the most part the system, you can probably find more than enough people saying it did help me," said Mullen.

Norton faces charges ranging from aggravated sexual assault and burglary to violating a protective order.

University officials say they don’t comment on personnel matters or on-going investigations.

However, in a statement, officials say Norton will not be allowed back on campus if he later bails out of Salt Lake County jail. Technically, he still has his job since University administrators still have to review the allegations:

"The University of Utah has learned that Mr. Lonnie D. Norton, an employee of the University, has been arrested by the Sandy Police Department and charged with a number of criminal violations, some of which allegedly occurred on the University campus. The University of Utah has no tolerance for use of its facilities in violation of University policy or the law. University employees who commit violent acts on University property are not eligible to remain employed at the University and will be excluded from campus."