Park City man pleads guilty to seven felonies
A Park City man accused of encouraging teenagers to smoke marijuana at a party held in his Trailside home in 2017 pleaded guilty on Monday to seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness.
Adam David Childers, 46, pleaded guilty to the seven charges in Summit County’s 3rd District Court with attorney Greg Skordas at his side. Prosecutors agreed to drop the other 10 charges he faced in exchange for the guilty pleas.
A three-day jury trial was set to begin on Sept. 4. But, Skordas had indicated Childers would still be interested in reaching a plea bargain even though he previously rejected one. Skordas would not reveal the details of the original deal.
“The risk was great of him being convicted and serving a lengthy prison term,” Skordas said. “We had to weigh the risk versus the chances of winning a trial and decided this was a fair resolution. This was something that was weighing heavily on him. He is a successful businessman and has a lot going for him. This is something he wanted to put behind him.”
Childers opted for the plea deal that was entered on Monday. According to court records, he entered into a 36-month plea in abeyance to three counts of distribution of or arranging to distribute a controlled substance in the presence of a child, a second-degree felony; three counts of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony; and obstructing justice, also a third-degree felony. If Childers successfully completes all the conditions outlined in the plea deal, his charges will be amended to class A misdemeanors. Sentencing is scheduled for October 15.
Distributing a controlled substance in the presence of a child is the most serious charge and carries a potential sentence of one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each count.
Charges were filed in 3rd District Court on Jan. 16 against Childers after prosecutors allege he hosted a party at his home that six teens — ages 14 and 15 — attended. He originally faced six counts of distribution of or arranging to distribute a controlled substance in the presence of a child, a second-degree felony; four counts of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony; one count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony; and six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class B misdemeanor.
He pleaded not guilty to all counts in April before reaching the plea bargain.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said a “great measure of justice” was achieved with the deal.
“We endeavor to hear and honor the feelings of witnesses and victims in each case,” she said. “In this case, the parents of some of the minor witnesses and victims, while cooperative with the prosecution, wished a disposition could be crafted which would spare the young witnesses from having to testify in open court.”
Childers was arrested at his home on Jan. 11. He was released after posting $100,000 cash on Jan. 16.
Prosecutors alleged Childers encouraged the teens who attended the party to smoke marijuana that he provided and they agreed. He also invited a female stripper to the party who showed her breasts to the children, court documents state. Childers allegedly collected the children’s cellphones to prevent them from documenting the party.
In January, law enforcement began questioning Childers about the party. Four of the children then went to Childers’ house and recorded conservations with him where he explicitly told them to lie to the police because he could get in trouble for “providing you guys drugs,” charging documents state.
Prosecutors say Childers told the children to “deny, deny, deny” the accusations and keep their stories straight. Childers told them, if necessary, to say he gave them fake marijuana he got in Mexico and the woman’s breasts were covered, according to court documents.
Court documents state that Childers speculated and discussed who reported the party to law enforcement in the recorded conversations with the teens. The documents allege Childers threatened the teen he believed alerted the police and told the teens “he should not mess with” him because Childers or the stripper will make accusations against him.
After the police interviewed Childers and he knew an investigation was taking place, he gathered the drugs and paraphernalia to get “rid of everything that was not prescribed,” according to court documents.
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