Jury trial rescheduled for Providence man charged with rape

First District Courthouse, Logan

LOGAN — Days after the state’s court judges were given authorization to resume in-person trials and hearings, a jury trial has been rescheduled for a 74-year-old Providence man charged with raping a woman more than a year ago. Richard R. Cornell has been behind bars since being arrested March 2, 2020.

Cornell participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference from 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 Shannon Demler asked for the jury trial to be reset. He said, he and prosecutors had continued to be unable to reach a plea agreement.

Judge Brian Cannell scheduled the three-day trial to begin July 28. He said the court was still working out how in-person hearings will be conducted. A senior judge may also oversee the trial, as the court attempts to work through a large backlog of cases.

In March 2020, Cache County sheriff’s deputies were called after a woman went to CAPSA for help. She described how she had allegedly 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 reportedly 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.”

Investigators responded to Cornell’s residence and found him 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.

Deputies also questioned Cornell, who previously worked in law enforcement, military police and federal court security. He refused to cooperate without his lawyer.

A three-day trial was originally scheduled for last October. The trial was later cancelled, due to a Utah Supreme Court Ruling, prohibiting in-person jury trials, due to the increase in coronavirus cases.

Cornell didn’t speak during Wednesday’s hearing. He is being held in jail without bail and 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.


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