LOGAN — A 37-year-old Smithfield man charged with allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a young girl for years has been ordered to remain in jail. Scott Garza was refused bail after a judge expressed concern for the public and alleged victim’s safety, if the suspect was allowed out of jail.
Garza participated in a detention hearing Monday morning in 1st District Court, appearing by web conference from jail. He was previously charged with 10 counts of rape of a child and 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Griffin Hazard explained how Smithfield City police officers began investigating Garza after the alleged victim, a 13-year-old girl, reported being raped, resulting in her becoming pregnant. She claimed the sexual abuse had been occurring regularly since she was 7.
A forensic interview and medical examination was conducted at the Cache Children’s Justice Center. The exam confirmed the teenage girl was approximately 20 weeks pregnant. She also claimed Garza was the father and explained how he would rape her, sometimes twice a week.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler asked for Garza to be allowed bail. He noted that his client had no criminal history and ran his own business to support his family.
Demler said they weren’t disputing the seriousness of the charges but asked for the court to consider less restrictive options. He suggested his client be fitted with an ankle monitor, which would track him 24 hours a day.
Hazard noted that even though Garza hadn’t been previously convicted of a crime, the latest allegations had been occurring for years.
Judge Brandon Maynard agreed with Hazard, stating the evidence suggested a substantial risk to the public if Garza was allowed bail. He ordered the suspect to appear again in court April 19, to decide whether he wanted a preliminary hearing.
Garza did not speak during the hearing. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.