LOGAN — A 72-year-old Providence man has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at his home earlier this month. Richard R. Cornell entered the plea moments after waiving his rights to a preliminary hearing, where a judge would have determined if prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind him over for trial.
Cornell appeared in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by video from the Cache County Jail. He was previously charged with object rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; attempted forcible sodomy, and, two counts of forcible sexual abuse, all second-degree felonies.
Public defender Ryan Holdaway told the court that he had spoken with Cornell and they wished to waive the preliminary hearing, as they work with prosecutors on a possible plea deal. He asked for another hearing later this month.
Deputies allege the assault took place on the evening of March 2. The alleged victim later went to CAPSA for help, describing how she had been raped by Cornell, who was an acquaintance.
The woman called Cornell from the sheriff’s office, so deputies could record the conversation. The suspect apologized to her and said it never should have happened. He then allegedly stated that he had prayed about it, and she should go home, “take a shower, and forget it ever happened.”
Deputies responded to the home where the alleged assault took place. They were able to collect several pieces of physical evidence.
Investigators also questioned Cornell, who previously worked in law enforcement, military police and federal court security. He refused to cooperate without his lawyer.
Deputies noted that Cornell was still wearing the same clothes the victim described him having on when the rape occurred. They also filed for a warrant to collect his DNA.
Cornell remains in jail on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear again in court March 30 and could face up to life in prison if convicted.