Owner of Karaoke Cab sentenced, still maintains innocence
The owner of the Park City transportation company Karaoke Cab was sentenced last week in Third District Court to serve 270 days in Summit County Jail for sexual battery.
Michael Henry Falk, age 54 of Park City, pleaded guilty to sexual battery, a Class A misdemeanor, in May. Falk was originally facing one count of rape of a child, a first-degree felony with a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years to life and listing on the sex offenders registry. The incident involved an 11-year-old girl.
Summit County Prosecutor Joy Natale said Falk’s plea agreement was offered after several consultations with the victim.
“I am satisfied with the resolution in the case,” Natale said. “This is what the victim wanted. She has been dealing with this for a good portion of her life and she felt it was appropriate to drop the charges now. We often work to determine how we can resolve a case without having to go through a trial, particularly in these types of cases.”
Third District Court Judge Paige Petersen handed down a one-year jail sentence for Falk on June 27. However, his sentence was stayed and 95 days were suspended. Falk was sentenced to immediately begin serving 270 days in jail, with credit for 75 days served, and 48 months of supervised probation upon release. According to Falk’s attorney Rudy J. Bautista, the judge gave him credit for 60 days because of the costs he incurred while wearing an ankle monitor for 17 months. Bautista said he never violated the conditions of monitoring.
Bautista said Falk still maintains his innocence and was not satisfied with his sentencing. He referred to Falk as a pillar of the community.
“It takes a lot of work to go to trial and trial can be risky for all sides,” Bautista said. “We discussed a sexual battery charge with the prosecutor and she agreed. It is a non-registrable sex offense and on the big spectrum of things, very minor. Nine out of 10 attorneys would advise him to take it and that’s what he did. He took the plea deal, even though he knew she wasn’t telling the truth.”
Bautista said Falk attempted to withdraw his guilty plea and have his day in court. However, the judge denied the motion.
“He realized he was admitting to something he didn’t do,” Bautista said. “If they are so adamant that he is guilty, then let him withdraw the plea.”
Bautista said he has not yet filed a motion to appeal the denial of Falk’s request to withdraw his plea, adding that he didn’t know if he would.
“We did file a motion today to vacate the term of probation and have him serve the additional 95 days, but the judge hasn’t signed that,” Bautista said. “Our general position is that probation is a privilege and someone can say, ‘no thanks.’ He would just rather serve his time and not have probation hanging over his head for four years.”
Falk can apply for work release, if he is eligible, according to court documents. Bautista said Falk operated Karaoke Cab, but was not a driver. According to the business website, Karaoke Cab has been transporting individuals, family, birthday, wedding and corporate groups in around the Park City area and Wasatch Back, Salt Lake City, to and from the SLC Airport and surrounding areas for years.
He has drivers that have all passed background checks, Bautista said. This should not affect the business at all. The alleged incident happened at a time when he was going through a contentious divorce.
Falk was arrested on Dec. 23, 2014 after the victim disclosed that an incident had taken place several years earlier at his home.
According to court documents, the state requested that Falk be held on $100,000 cash-only bail. Documents state that the request was made in light of the position of special trust the defendant occupies in relation to the victim, the egregiousness of the conduct and the psychological harm it inflicted. At a bail hearing, Falk’s bail was reduced to a bondable amount of $50,000. He made bail on Jan. 6, 2015 and was ordered to wear an ankle monitor.
Falk already had a criminal record prior to his arrest for sexual battery. According to court documents, he had been convicted on separate occasions of driving under the influence, domestic violence assault, and attempted aggravated assault stemming from a domestic violence incident.
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