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Utah teacher who smuggled student into class in a bin takes plea deal

Crime Watch

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Lucas Sloan Talley | Salt Lake County Jail

RIVERTON (KSL) — A former middle school teacher accused of smuggling a student into his classroom in a storage bin while his school was closed due to COVID-19 has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Lucas Sloan Talley, 38, of Herriman — who was originally charged with two counts of second-degree felony kidnapping — took a plea in abeyance on June 8 to one count of unlawful detention of a minor, a class B misdemeanor. A second identical count was dismissed.

Talley’s guilty plea will be held in abeyance for one year. During that time, he cannot commit any new crimes, have any contact with the victim, must obtain a mental health evaluation, complete any assigned treatment, and not have any job working with minors for a year, according to court records. If he complies with those terms, the case will be dismissed.

Talley was a teacher at South Hills Middle School in Riverton when police say he developed an “emotional relationship” with a 14-year-old girl. During the 2019-20 school year, when COVID-19 forced the shutdown of the school, the girl emailed Talley because she was having trouble turning in an assignment. Police say Talley provided the girl with his cellphone number to text the assignment to him. But a day or two later, he began texting her repeatedly and “would send her a song every day,” according to charging documents.

Talley would tell the girl about his pending divorce and brought gifts to her at her home, the charges state, and sent text messages to her daily, prompting the girl’s parents to tell Talley to stop.

Then between April and June 2020, while the school was still closed, Talley twice sneaked the girl into his classroom by putting her inside a bin that he would then wheel into the building using a dolly, according to the charges.

“Talley stated that he had thoughts of being with (the girl) but knew he would have to wait six or seven years before he could get to that point. Talley stated that he had a love for (the girl. He) stated that he realized he needs the validation from young female students for his ego and he thrives on it,” charging documents state.

Search warrant affidavits served in the case state that Talley admitted to viewing “young girl” pornography as well as “multiple inappropriate conversations with multiple teenagers and former students.”

But on June 4, the charges against Talley were amended to two reduced counts of unlawful detention of a minor, a class B misdemeanor, and a plea in abeyance was reached the next day.

“Like in any case, we worked the evidence. As the case went on, the evidence changed. The disposition is fitting of the offense,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Wednesday of the amended charges.

A review hearing for Talley’s case is scheduled for Aug. 9.