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A 21-year-old man facing a sexual assault case involving teenage victims pleaded not guilty to charges after waiving his preliminary hearing in 1st District Court on Monday.

Payden Hendershot appeared in 1st District Court on Monday via video conference from the Cache County Jail. During his appearance, Hendershot was bound over for trial and pleaded not guilty to six counts leveled against him: two counts of first-degree object rape, two counts of first-degree forcible sodomy, third-degree distribution of a controlled substance and class-A furnishing alcoholic product to a minor.

Defense attorney Joseph Saxton asked the court for a 30-day continuance in the case to explore possible avenues for resolution. Hendershot was set to appear for a pretrial conference on May 10.

An affidavit filed with the court states Cache County Sheriff’s deputies began investigation into Hendershot “for numerous alleged sex crimes involving underage youth” in 2020. A 17-year-old victim disclosed being sexually assaulted by Hendershot and a struggle “to fight him off.”

After additional names of potential victims were provided to law enforcement, deputies wrote, five alleged juvenile victims disclosed incidents of sexual assault.

“Many of the victims indicate that Payden took advantage of them while they were under the influence of drugs or intoxicated and unable to fight him off,” Deputies wrote.

According to the affidavit, Hendershot said the incidents occurred while “intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, and oftentimes both.” Hendershot told deputies he didn’t remember one particular incident and stated other sexual encounters were consensual, though he “could have read everyone wrong.”

Deputies wrote additional charges would be sent to other agencies and local prosecutors for screening, though courts records show additional charges have yet to be filed in the State of Utah.

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