Composite image with background 2019 file photo of 5th District Judge Michael Westfall during hearing in St. George; overlay booking photo of Laura Ann Regg, 36, taken in Hurricane, Utah, Utah, Feb. 22, 2022 | File photo by Court Pool, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — Family members made emotional pleas during a sentencing hearing in the case involving the rape and sexual abuse of a 9-year-old child – abuse the youngster’s mother admittedly participated in.
Laura Ann Regg, 36, appeared in 5th District Court in St. George for sentencing on July 13 on three first-degree felony charges, including one count each of rape of a child, sodomy of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
The defendant originally was charged with more than 15 felonies, but in exchange for a guilty plea, six counts of sodomy of a child, three counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child were dismissed.
The primary issue at hand during the hearing was whether the prison sentences for each of the three charges would be consecutive or concurrent.
Regg has remained in custody at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional facility in Hurricane without bail following her arrest in February on an unrelated felony case.
The case was filed following an investigation that was opened in January, prompted by a call from an out-of-state relative who reported that a 9-year-old family member for whom she was caring had been sexually molested while living in St. George. The abuse began when the child was 9 years old and continued until age 11, according to the probable cause statement filed with the courts.
Regg and her partner lived with the child at the time and according to court records, both worked in concert during the incidents of sexual abuse, which included rape and sodomy of the child. During one incident, Regg reportedly drugged the child by injecting her with a substance to dull the pain of the abuse.
The suspects then told the girl not to tell anyone “or else they would go to prison.” It wasn’t until the young girl moved out of state that she disclosed the alleged abuse to a family member.
During a police interview at the jail, Regg denied that any of the abuse occurred as described by detectives. She also reportedly told officers nothing happened between her partner and the child was making up the allegations.
When the defendant appeared for a hearing in April, she attempted to interrupt District Judge G. Michael Westfall as he cited the list of charges filed against her, waving her hand as she asked that the charges not be read aloud, which did not deter the judge as he continued reading the list.
A family member of the youngster addressed the court during the sentencing hearing last week by saying the child still cannot talk about what happened during the “three horrific years she spent in Utah.”
He said he hoped the child would learn not everyone is like the defendant, but that there are “good people” out there. He also said the damage left in the wake of the abuse has impacted dozens of people, damage that runs deep.
He also said the threats made by Regg to send the child away if she ever told anyone “that you were raping her,” he said, has left damage that may never be healed.
He closed by saying the defendant was a pedophile, a parasite, a rapist and scum.
Another family member also addressed the court saying that prior to relocating to Utah the child was a healthy little girl, but when she came back, he said, they saw a very different child. The child’s therapist, he added, said it would be years before the family would be able to measure any progress from the damage caused by the abuse.
The family member also said the girl’s counselor said it would be a long time before the full extent of the emotional damage would be revealed.
The uncle closed by saying the defendant should be locked up in prison and asked the court to run the sentences consecutively.
Washington County Prosecutor Zachary Weiland spoke next, saying the facts in this case “are some of the most difficult I’ve ever read.”
He said as he watched the video of the child’s interview, he was surprised at the amount of detail the youngster went into as she described “what her mother and the person that she calls ‘Dad’ did to her,” he said.
Weiland also said after learning what had happened to the child, it was never a question of whether the state would ask for consecutive sentences, adding that no mother should ever do this to her child, nor allow anybody else to do it.
He closed by saying the defendant “allowed her own daughter to be raped by the man the daughter called Dad,” and said the defendant “should never see the light of day.”
Defense Attorney Peter Stack also addressed the court by saying this was a difficult case from the beginning, adding he had read the same reports and details as read by the state, and while there is ample reasoning to sentence his client to consecutive prison terms, he said, “We are asking for mercy.
“I’m not going to stand up here and pretend that these are not heinous crimes,” Stack said. “I understand there’s ample reasoning in Utah code to sentence the defendant consecutively. However, we are asking for mercy,” based on the fact she pleaded guilty to and takes accountability for the charges.
He also said the defendant entered her guilty pleas knowing the counts could run consecutive and has also said she would testify against her codefendant should his case go to trial.
Regg also spoke saying she would never be able to forgive herself for the harm she caused her daughter, adding, “I would give my life if I could change what happened.”
She also said it was her hope her daughter eventually would find it in her heart to forgive her and ended her emotional plea by saying any consequences that may befall her, “they pale in comparison to the magnitude that my daughter has ahead of her as a result of my actions.”
Regg then asked the judge to run her sentence concurrently.
Westfall took care of the two unrelated cases filed previously involving a weapons charge and a theft charge – each a third-degree felony – and he ordered the defendant to serve 0-5 years in prison on each of the charges.
He then ordered the defendant to serve 25 years to life on the rape of a child charge, and another 25-life for sodomy of a child, in addition to a 15-life prison term for aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
He also ordered that all three sentences run consecutive to one another, and consecutive to the prison terms imposed on the previous cases – meaning Regg will spend the next 65 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.
Westfall saved his comments for the end of the hearing as he addressed the defendant by saying, “Ma’am, there are very few things that are the epitome of evil when it relates to children, and this has been my opportunity to see that.”
He went on to it was mind-boggling “that anyone, including a mother, could treat their child like that.”
The judge closed by saying his sentencing recommendation will indicate that Reggs serve a life sentence, “and that you never be released from prison.”
The suspect and co-defendant allegedly involved in the reported sex abuse, 39-year-old Travis Jesse Regg, was charged with 14 first-degree felony charges in connection with the case that was filed in April, including seven counts of sodomy upon a child, four counts of rape of a child and three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. He was also charged with misdemeanor lewdness, according to the eight-page information document filed in 5th District Court. The defendant is being held in custody in Beaver County on an unrelated case. His case is still pending in the courts.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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