Pond gets1-15- yearsentence

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    By JONATHAN BAGLEY

    Gerry Pond, a former employee of the LDS church’s public relations department, was sentenced to 1-15 years yesterday for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

    Judge Robert K. Hilder of the 3rd district court acknowledged that he knew people concerned expected Pond to be placed on probation because of his position in the community. “I do not make decisions before I enter the courtroom,” said Judge Hilder.

    Prosecutor James Cope said he believes the Pond case was handled the same as his other similar cases. He said the only unusual aspect of the case was Pond’s speedy confession, and that Pond did not receive preferential treatment.

    Cope said a photo of Pond featured in the BYU alumni magazine after his arrest may have caused some of the public’s unrest.

    The judge stressed Pond’s sentence was based on his long process of manipulation, and his intent to prey on her. He said he did not believe this would be the only incident if Pond was given the opportunity.

    Before being led away in handcuffs, Pond said he understood the damage he caused, and he was sorry for it.

    The state Board of Pardons determines how long Pond will stay in prison.

    For the first time the victim spoke in court on what Pond did. She said she came forward for her concern for her little sister. She said Pond had made propositions to the victim’s younger sister, saying her older sister had become to old.

    The victim’s mother said her child is undergoing therapy, and has threatened to commit suicide. She told Judge Hilder that Pond should go to prison because her daughter has said she would run away if Pond is permitted to return to the neighborhood.

    The mother said her daughter suffers from two learning disabilities, one of which is an auditory problem. The mother said Pond was aware of the disability. This caused the mother to wonder why Pond would have her daughter in a radio studio.

    Pond is a neighbor of the victim and is acquainted with her through the LDS church. Pond offered to help the girl with a modeling career when she was eleven, and photographed her in revealing clothing. Pond duped the victim into committing a sex act Nov. 6, at Trinity Broadcasting’s West Valley City studio where Pond is employed as a technician.

    Pond hosted the LDS weekly national radio program, “Times and Seasons.” He was fired by the church in November.

    Pond was one of two candidates to be considered as news director for KBYU last fall. “He had excellent credentials,” associate professor Scott Hammond said. “He had worked at KBYU with an excellent reputation.”

    Professor Lee Bartlett said Pond was qualified for the job but did not meet their needs as well as the other candidate. “We sure dodged a bullet with that one,” said Hammond.

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