Tag Archives: University of Utah

Sundance co-founder sentenced to six years in child sex abuse case

Pervert Sterling Van Wagen

From Hollywood Reporter: A filmmaker who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival and produced a movie whose lead actress won an Oscar in the mid-1980s was sentenced Tuesday to at least six years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a child.

The judge who delivered the sentence of six years to life said that he hopes the parole board will keep 72-year-old Sterling Van Wagenen in prison longer than the minimum.

Judge Robert Griffin commended the young victim for reporting what happened. Prosecutors say Van Wagenen touched a young girl on two occasions between 2013 and 2015.

“You did the right thing and you’re not responsible for anything that happened and anything that will happen,” said Griffin during the hearing south of Salt Lake City. “You’re a brave young lady.”

The sister of the victim, whose name the Associated Press is withholding because she is a victim of sexual abuse, read a letter on her sister’s behalf blasting Van Wagenen for lying and being a coward.
“I strongly believe the only thing you were actually torn up about is the fact that you got caught,” the sister said.

Van Wagenen declined to apologize when he spoke to the victim and her family. “It’s clear that any kind of apology I can make is meaningless at this point,” Van Wagenen said. “So I am not even going to attempt one. I want you all to know I feel the consequences of what I’ve done. I feel them deeply.”

He pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of sexual abuse of a child, both involving the same victim, as part of a plea deal.

Van Wagenen co-founded a Utah film festival that came to be known as Sundance Film Festival with Robert Redford and was the Sundance Institute’s founding executive director, but hasn’t been with the organization for more than 20 years.

He was a producer on the 1985 film The Trip to Bountiful, a story of an elderly woman who longs to return to her home that earned the late actress Geraldine Page an Academy Award.

Van Wagenen has worked over the years as a film instructor at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University and as a director and producer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a variety of projects, including temple videos.

He resigned from his part-time instructor position at the University of Utah’s Film and Media Arts Department on Feb. 15, university spokesman Chris Nelson said.

Van Wagenen’s resignation came after a man accused Van Wagenen of molesting him as a boy in 1993. No charges were filed in that case, which was made public by a website that serves as a watchdog for The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church.

Van Wagenen thanked that man, who was in court Tuesday, saying it was a “blessing” that he brought “this all to light.”

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Sundance Film Festival co-founder pleads guilty to child sex abuse

Pervert Sterling Van Wagenen

From Hollywood Reporter: A filmmaker who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival and produced an Oscar-winning movie in the mid-1980s pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual abuse of a child.

Sterling Van Wagenen, 71, entered the plea as part of an agreement that includes a sentence of six years to life. He plans to plead guilty to a second charge involving the same victim later this week, his attorney Steven Shapiro said.

Van Wagenen’s acceptance of the plea deal was a surprise, given that he had just been charged earlier this month and it came during his first court appearance. Shapiro said his client decided to waive his right to other hearings to resolve the case quickly and avoid further harm to his family.

Van Wagenen wanted to “acknowledge wrongful conduct,” Shapiro said.

Prosecutors charged Van Wagenen with inappropriately touching a girl between the ages of 7 and 9 on two occasions between 2013 and 2015 in two northern Utah cities. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced on July 2.

Van Wagenen co-founded a Utah film festival that came to be known as Sundance Film Festival with Robert Redford and was the Sundance Institute’s founding executive director, but hasn’t been with the organization for more than two decades.

He was a producer on the 1985 film The Trip to Bountiful, a story of an elderly woman who longs to return to her home that earned the late actress Geraldine Page an Academy Award for her starring performance.

Van Wagenen has worked over the years as a film instructor at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University and as a director and producer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a variety of projects, including temple videos.

He resigned from his part-time instructor position at the University of Utah’s Film and Media Arts Department on Feb. 15 after being put on administrative leave on Feb. 5, university spokesman Chris Nelson said.

Van Wagenen’s resignation came after a man came forward to accuse Van Wagenen of molesting him as a boy in 1993. No charges have been filed in that case, which was made public by a website that serves as a watchdog for The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon Church.

Van Wagenen was the executive director of the 2018 historical tale Jane and Emma about a black woman’s friendship with the wife of Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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To serve and protect? Slain Utah athlete repeatedly called school, Salt Lake City police about harasser

A primate example of why you cannot rely on anyone but yourself for your personal safety. A good reason to believe in the Second Amendment and exercise that right.

From Yahoo: Lauren McCluskey, the 21-year-old Utah track athlete who was abducted outside her Salt Lake City dorm and killed in October, had called both University of Utah police and Salt Lake City police multiple times to report her attacker’s harassment before her death, according to 911 calls obtained by CNN.

McCluskey was found dead in a parked car on campus on October 23 shortly after she had an argument outside of her residence hall with 37-year-old Melvin Rowland. McCluskey and Rowland had met in a bar in September and dated for about a month, per the report, before McCluskey learned that he was a convicted sex offender and had lied about his age and name. Rowland spent more than a decade in prison, was released on parole three times, and violated his parole and returned to prison twice. He killed himself hours after McCluskey’s death following a police chase.

McCluskey ended the relationship on October 9, blocked all communication from him and his friends, and even had university police accompany her to retrieve her car, which she had let him borrow. Rowland, though, wouldn’t leave her alone.

Over the next two weeks, according to CNN, McCluskey called University of Utah police multiple to report the harassment and an attempted extortion. She told police that she sent him $1,000 “in hopes of keeping compromising photos of her private.”

However McCluskey had grown frustrated at a lack of progress by university police, who she felt weren’t doing enough to stop Rowland, and started calling Salt Lake City police.

“I’m worried because I’ve been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven’t gotten an update,” McCluskey told Salt Lake City police in a call to 911, via CNN. “They haven’t updated or done anything.”

She first called Salt Lake City police on October 13 after she had been blackmailed for money, per the report. They, though, advised her to call university police instead. When she called them a week later, they told her the same thing.

“I’ve contacted them already, I just wanted to talk to you as well,” McCluskey said in a call to 911, via CNN. “Yeah, I was just concerned because I wasn’t sure how long they were gonna take.”

University police conducted an internal review after her death, which the university said was not the result of any individual mistakes. The review also found university officers didn’t know how to look up criminal background or parole information.

“The review team’s report identified gaps in training, awareness and enforcement of certain policies rather than lapses in individual performance,” the university said, via CNN.

Her parents disputed the university’s report shortly after it was released. “There were numerous opportunities to protect her during the almost two weeks between the time when our daughter began expressing repeated, elevating, and persistent concerns about her situation and the time of her murder,” Jill and Matthew McCluskey wrote.

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U. of Utah has a 'cry closet' for students

Tue, 01 May 2018 12:11:13 +0000

eowyn2

Any wonder why this young generation are called snowflakes?

cry closet

University of Utah’s Cry Closet

Ashley May reports for USA Today, April 26, 2018, that University of Utah students on the brink of tears during finals week have a space to let it all out — a “Cry Closet” in the university’s library for “stressed out students” studying for final exams to take a short 10-minute break.

The only rules are to knock before entering, only one person inside at a time, limit time inside to 10 minutes, and turn the lights out before leaving.

Nemo Miller

The Cry Closet, which was installed on Sunday, April 22, is a woodshop project by senior Nemo Miller in collaboration with Tony Miller and David Meyer. It’s lined with a black interior, and plush stuffed animals are inside.

Nemo said in a statement: “One aspect of humanity that I am currently exploring is connections and missed connections through communication. It’s been interesting to watch the response to this piece about human emotions, and I’m proud to see the power of art in action.”

After photos of the project went viral, some said the campus should have more Cry Closets and one person questioned if the closet is soundproof. Student @aJackieLarson tweeted:

“so my school installed a cry closet in the library LMFAOOOOOOOOO what is higher education”

The university said the closet’s installation, which was approved by the school, is an attempt at humor but also a “work of art meant to provoke feeling, thought & conversation, which the artist has apparently done.”

The closet will remain in the library until May 2, the end of final exams.

God help these students when they graduate and must work in the real world.

Update:

Nemo Miller’s self-description on Twitter says its preferred pronouns are “She/hers”, which suggests Miller likely is an imagined MtF “transgender”:

Ceramic Artist – Cry Closet Creator – U OF U Spring 2018 – Instagram: Nemosanartist – She/hers

~Eowyn

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