Former educator pleads guilty to child sex abuse

Posted at 6:39 PM, Apr 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-03 00:38:35-04

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah - He was once an award-winning educator but is now guilty of sexually abusing a student. A former charter school principal made that admission in a Wasatch County courtroom Tuesday.

Charles Weber, 66, led the school to national recognition but the award-winning educator's life came crashing down last fall when allegations were made.

Weber pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible sodomy in exchange for dropping four other counts. The case all revolves around a 15-year-old victim from Soldier Hollow Charter School in Midway.

On Tuesday, Weber hung his head while shackled and wearing jailhouse stripes. In front of Judge Lynn Davis, Weber came clean but could barely muster up the words "guilty."

The plea spares the victim from testifying.

"I feel a sense of relief for the victims that this person who has been brought to justice with this one case at least," said prosecutor and Utah Assistant Attorney General Paul Amann.

Charging documents indicate Weber has been carrying a skeleton in his closet for a long time.

"He was a person who was able to use whatever position he was in to manipulate his victims and the victims' families to his advantage," said Amann.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation started questioning Weber last year after a former elementary student told agents Weber molested him repeatedly in the mid 1970s, when the alleged victim was 11 years old. Charging documents say the former educator has admitted abusing several young boys over the last 35 years. And while additional charges haven’t been filed, prosecutors say it's just a matter of time.

"Once investigations are complete and charges have been drafted, we are expecting charges to be filed in more than one county," said Amann.

Amann wouldn't say how many victims there are but the guilty plea played out in a landmark moment. Television news cameras are now allowed in Utah courtrooms and Tuesday's guilty plea was the first to be shot with a broadcast camera.

Weber could spend the rest of his life in prison. He faces 5 years to life on each sodomy charge. His sentencing is at the end of May.

Related stories:
Award-winning educator charged for alleged child sex abuse
Judge removes himself from child sex abuse case
Former educator waives hearing on sex abuse charges