Park City graduate pleads guilty to disorderly conduct in harassment case
UPDATE: Pederson completed the terms of his plea in abeyance agreement, according to court documents. The charge has been dismissed. Amended charges against Lukrich and Hall were also dismissed after they completed terms in plea in abeyance agreements.
A Park City High School graduate prosecutors accused of inappropriately touching another person pleaded guilty to a class B misdemeanor of disorderly conduct Monday.
The charge against the graduate, Bernhardt Pederson, 18, was changed from a class A misdemeanor count of sexual battery as part of a plea in abeyance agreement. Court documents stated that he and fellow graduates Carter Hall and Joseph Lukrich were involved in inappropriate behavior against another person during a gym class and that Pederson placed his foot on the person’s testicles. Lukrich and Hall were also charged with a class A misdemeanor count of sexual battery, and Hall faces an additional class A misdemeanor count of stalking.
Court documents indicate Pederson’s misdemeanor could be dismissed if he follows the conditions of the agreement, which include paying an abeyance fee of $300, completing 25 hours of community service for a nonprofit, and writing a two-page letter on the effect of bullying and a letter of apology to the victim. He must also “maintain good behavior and have no violations of the law,” according to court documents.
Margaret Olson, the Summit County attorney, said that similar plea deals, including the lowering of charges from class A to class B misdemeanors, are common for first-time offenders.
Hearings for Hall and Lukrich were continued to July 16.
Pederson’s lawyer, Greg Skordas, said that the charge of disorderly conduct “more closely fit the conduct.” He said that he believes Pederson did not engage in sexual battery, but that the behavior was intimidating to the victim. He previously told The Park Record that he didn’t believe his client committed an illegal act and that he was disappointed that police pursued the situation as a criminal matter. He said he stands by that statement.
“Sometimes you resolve a case even though you believe your client will ultimately be acquitted,” he said. “It has weighed heavily on him and his family, and I think a lot of people want this behind them.”
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The Park City Museum recounts a 1914 field trip from Salt Lake City to the mines of Park City.