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Judge orders St. Anne's trio to trial

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Judge orders St. Anne's trio to trial

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Trespassing legend-trippses testify about their experience at St. Anne's retreat when they were ambushed by three watchmen.
Judge orders St. Anne’s trio to trial - Trespassing teens testify of horrifying canyon experience
By Jacob Santini
Senior News Writer

Three men accused of assaulting 30 high school students from Cache Valley, at what was once a Catholic retreat, are going to trial later this month.

Judge Clint Judkins ruled Thursday afternoon that the state had enough evidence to hold trial for Christopher Doerr, Arthur Peasnall and John Jeppson. Doerr and Peasnall are both charged with six counts of aggravated assault. Jeppson is charged with one count of forcable [forcible] sexual assault and six counts of aggravated assault.

According to one of the victims, the first alleged crime occurred at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 10. The three accused men caught a group of men and women trespassing on the property of Saint Anne’s Retreat.

Once the tree guards found them, Jeppson fired a shot into the air and told the eight to get down. Once on the ground, the individuals were retained with plastic cuffs and then taken to the main lodge room. Jeppson then wrapped a rope around the necks of the group and told them if they moved their heads would be burnt off, he said.

The second incident occurred Oct. 10 about 9:30 p.m. Three groups of local high school students say they were ambushed on the bridge and then cuffed together.

In testimony on Wednesday in Logan’s First District Courthouse, a 17-year-old girls who is accusing Jeppson of sexually assaulting her, said the group of 11 friends were walking across the bridge when a man came running at them and fired a shot into the air.

“He yelled get down on the f’ing ground; you are all under arrest,” the woman said. “Then he fired his gun in the air.”. . . [missing text] of high school students who were face down in the ground, the girl said.

Once all of the kids were on the ground they were handcuffed together with plastic flex cuffs.

Once restrained, the girl testified, Jeppson sexually assaulted her.

“He searched up both of my legs and then around my behind just patting around,” the girl said. “The then put both hands up my stomach and over my breast and then back down over my stomach.”

“I was so afraid, I didn’t know what to think,” the girls said, crying.

The group of about 30 students were then led to the empty pool on the Saint Anne’s property, according to testimony.

They made us kneel down in the pool and then they put a wire around our necks. He (Jeppson) said it would blow up if any of us moved because it was attached to an explosive, she said.

Another 17-year-old girls said she was injured after Jeppson had grabbed her by the collar and jerked her head back and then forward again.

Johnson said, “He (Jeppson) said ‘Shut up or do you want that rope any tighter.”

Jeppson’s defense attorney David Perry pointed out that vandals had caused extensive damage to the property on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the Friday that the high school kids trespassed. The eight in the group held by the three men on Friday morning had also threatened to be back later to get revenge on the men, Perry said.

The defense attorney for Doerr, Barbara Lochmar said, “Was it reasonable for Jr. Jeppson, Mr. Doerr and Mr. Peasnall to believe that a felony was going to be committed?

“There had been burglaries the two nights prior and their lives had been threatened earlier that morning,” Lochmar said. “There was reasonable belief that a crime was going to be committed.”

For a crime to be an aggravated assault, deadly force must have been used, Lochmar said.

“Did they use deadly force?” she asked. “They shot in the air and shot to the sides of the people. I’m not so sure that deadly force was used.”

In response, Cache County Attorney Scott Wyatt said, “A loaded gun falls under deadly weapon. A felony to injure or use deadly weapon is deadly force.

“If every time someone steps in my backyard and made a noise I could shoot at them, then we live in a sorry world,” Wyatt said.

The charge of forceable [forcible] sexual assault was dropped against Doerr and Peasnall by Judkins because there was no evidence which showed they had sexually assaulted any of the high schoolers.

Peasnall is currently in the custody of Cache County Jail. Jukdkins issued a bench warrant for him when he failed to appear at the preliminary hearing on Wednesday morning. Peasnall was picked up in Tooele County and brought to the courthouse that afternoon. His bail was reset at $5,000.

An arraignment for the three will be held on March 23.

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Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives, FOLK COLL 32

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Reproduction for publication, exhibition, web display or commercial use is only permissible with the consent of the USU Libraries Special Collections and Archives, phone (435) 797-2663.

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Utah State University Folklore in the news collection, 1973-2012, FOLK COLL 32
http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv04849
St. Anne's Retreat

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http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p16944coll20/id/47

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Judge orders St. Anne’s trio to trial - Trespassing teens testify of horrifying canyon experience
By Jacob Santini
Senior News Writer

Three men accused of assaulting 30 high school students from Cache Valley, at what was once a Catholic retreat, are going to trial later this month.

Judge Clint Judkins ruled Thursday afternoon that the state had enough evidence to hold trial for Christopher Doerr, Arthur Peasnall and John Jeppson. Doerr and Peasnall are both charged with six counts of aggravated assault. Jeppson is charged with one count of forcable [forcible] sexual assault and six counts of aggravated assault.

According to one of the victims, the first alleged crime occurred at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 10. The three accused men caught a group of men and women trespassing on the property of Saint Anne’s Retreat.

Once the tree guards found them, Jeppson fired a shot into the air and told the eight to get down. Once on the ground, the individuals were retained with plastic cuffs and then taken to the main lodge room. Jeppson then wrapped a rope around the necks of the group and told them if they moved their heads would be burnt off, he said.

The second incident occurred Oct. 10 about 9:30 p.m. Three groups of local high school students say they were ambushed on the bridge and then cuffed together.

In testimony on Wednesday in Logan’s First District Courthouse, a 17-year-old girls who is accusing Jeppson of sexually assaulting her, said the group of 11 friends were walking across the bridge when a man came running at them and fired a shot into the air.

“He yelled get down on the f’ing ground; you are all under arrest,” the woman said. “Then he fired his gun in the air.”. . . [missing text] of high school students who were face down in the ground, the girl said.

Once all of the kids were on the ground they were handcuffed together with plastic flex cuffs.

Once restrained, the girl testified, Jeppson sexually assaulted her.

“He searched up both of my legs and then around my behind just patting around,” the girl said. “The then put both hands up my stomach and over my breast and then back down over my stomach.”

“I was so afraid, I didn’t know what to think,” the girls said, crying.

The group of about 30 students were then led to the empty pool on the Saint Anne’s property, according to testimony.

They made us kneel down in the pool and then they put a wire around our necks. He (Jeppson) said it would blow up if any of us moved because it was attached to an explosive, she said.

Another 17-year-old girls said she was injured after Jeppson had grabbed her by the collar and jerked her head back and then forward again.

Johnson said, “He (Jeppson) said ‘Shut up or do you want that rope any tighter.”

Jeppson’s defense attorney David Perry pointed out that vandals had caused extensive damage to the property on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the Friday that the high school kids trespassed. The eight in the group held by the three men on Friday morning had also threatened to be back later to get revenge on the men, Perry said.

The defense attorney for Doerr, Barbara Lochmar said, “Was it reasonable for Jr. Jeppson, Mr. Doerr and Mr. Peasnall to believe that a felony was going to be committed?

“There had been burglaries the two nights prior and their lives had been threatened earlier that morning,” Lochmar said. “There was reasonable belief that a crime was going to be committed.”

For a crime to be an aggravated assault, deadly force must have been used, Lochmar said.

“Did they use deadly force?” she asked. “They shot in the air and shot to the sides of the people. I’m not so sure that deadly force was used.”

In response, Cache County Attorney Scott Wyatt said, “A loaded gun falls under deadly weapon. A felony to injure or use deadly weapon is deadly force.

“If every time someone steps in my backyard and made a noise I could shoot at them, then we live in a sorry world,” Wyatt said.

The charge of forceable [forcible] sexual assault was dropped against Doerr and Peasnall by Judkins because there was no evidence which showed they had sexually assaulted any of the high schoolers.

Peasnall is currently in the custody of Cache County Jail. Jukdkins issued a bench warrant for him when he failed to appear at the preliminary hearing on Wednesday morning. Peasnall was picked up in Tooele County and brought to the courthouse that afternoon. His bail was reset at $5,000.

An arraignment for the three will be held on March 23.

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