A South Weber sex offender was sentenced to prison for sex crimes in Cache County after a judge expressed public risk concerns.
Appearing in 1st District from the Cache County Jail, Tanner Paul Clark, 27, was ordered to serve zero to five years in the Utah State Prison on Wednesday.
Judge Brian Cannell said he was concerned about risk to the public should Clark be released. Cannell said placing Clark in prison would safeguard the public and potential victims.
Clark pleaded guilty to two third-degree counts of enticing a minor in March. As part of a plea agreement, five similar counts were dismissed. Prior to sentencing, Clark apologized to the court and the victims in the case. He said he took full responsibility for his actions.
“I have full desire to change,” Clark told the court, “and fix these issues that I have.”
Defense attorney Joshua Baron asked the court to recognize Clark’s supportive family, who were present during the hearing, and recommended a sentence similar to that imposed in Clark’s 2018 Davis County case.
Earlier this month, court records show Clark was sentenced to a year in jail in a separate but similar case in the 2nd District Court. Clark had pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree attempted sexual exploitation of a minor in 2019, and was initially placed on probation — a probation that he ultimately violated during the incidents in Cache Valley.
“This was a significant violation of his probation,” Baron said, but told the court his client had made arrangements to receive treatment.
Cache County prosecutor Dane Murray agreed with Baron, but said Clark’s violation couldn’t have been much worse.
“I was, frankly, shocked that he wasn’t sentenced to prison” in the Davis County case, Murray told the court.
Murray said both the state and probation agents were “extremely concerned” by the case, and went on to recommend prison for Clark.
“If a sex offender commits a new sex offense, they go to prison,” Murray told the court.
An affidavit filed with the court states Clark, while barred from possessing a smartphone and accessing social media, obtained a smartphone and began conversing with a 15-year-old in Cache Valley. Documents filed with the court state Clark presented himself on social media as a 17-year-old from Brigham City and began “talking sexually” with the victim.
On Jan. 6, Clark and the victim arranged to meet at a church in Wellsville. Cache County Sheriff’s Office deputies wrote that the victim brought friends with her to the meeting location, and when Clark “saw her friends” he “took off.” Clark was then followed by the group, deputies wrote, and pictures of his vehicle were taken as well as a video of him “trying to hide his face with his hand.”
Clark was taken into custody at his Wasatch Front apartment later that day and booked into the Cache County Jail, where he is currently being held.