A man who pleaded guilty in a sexual assault case last month was sentenced to 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison on Monday.
Payden Hendershot, 21, appeared for sentencing in 1st District Court via video conference call from the Cache County Jail. He pleaded guilty on May 10 to two counts of second-degree forcible sodomy and class-B selling, offering or furnishing alcoholic product to a minor.
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Joseph Saxton asked for a more lenient sentence so Hendershot could receive treatment. Saxton told the court Hendershot’s behavior stemmed from substance use and underlying trauma.
Hendershot told the court the time spent in jail “saved my life.” Hendershot said he had been able to reconnect with his family and reflect on his actions.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard told the court there was concern over the number of sexual assaults. Hazard said Hendershot’s actions seemed to show “premeditation” or at least “predatory behavior” and that he was at high risk to reoffend.
“This is not a one-time incident,” Hazard told the court.
Judge Brandon Maynard, who shared some of the prosecutor’s concerns, imposed concurrent prison sentences for the charges with credit for 126 days served.
“I too was struck by the amount of victims,” Maynard said.
Charges were filed against Hendershot in February. He was initially charged with six counts, including four first-degree felonies; as part of a plea agreement, three charges were dismissed and the three remaining charges were amended.
Prosecutors alleged Hendershot sexually assaulted, and provided alcohol to, teenage minors. An affidavit filed with the court stated Hendershot “was accused of having victimized many different teenage juveniles on different occasions and in different places.” Cache County Sheriff’s deputies wrote in the affidavit additional charges would be submitted to other agencies and screened by local prosecutors; court records show additional charges had not been filed in the State of Utah as of Monday.