Former director of juvenile treatment center accused of sexually abusing teenage resident

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Teresa Lee Cope, Springville. 34, is charged with sexually abusing a teenage resident of the treatment facility where she worked.
Teresa Lee Cope, Springville, 34, is charged with sexually abusing a teenage resident of the treatment facility where she worked.

 

Police arrested the former program director of a Utah County juvenile treatment center after she was accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old resident.

Police arrested Teresa Lee Cope, 34, of Springville, on five counts of custodial sexual relations with a youth receiving state services. Cope, a former program director at the Birdseye Residential Treatment Center, is charged with sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old resident over the course of a month. The treatment center is for juvenile males with sexual behavior problems and pornography addictions. The abuse took place between April and May 2013 at both the treatment center and during off-site activities.

The probable cause statement filed with 4th District Court says Cope engaged in illegal sexual contact with the teen on one occasion. On another five separate occasions she engaged in inappropriate touching. Some of these incidents took place while at the treatment center. “The circumstances were manipulated by her so these things could happen,” said Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

The sheriff’s office was contacted on April 16, and a search warrant was issued for Cope’s home. Physical and electronic evidence was collected from her home that collaborated with the teen’s account. Cope, who had quit working at the center in December 2012, was later taken into custody, and bail was set at $10,000. Bail was later posted. Her next court hearing is scheduled for May 14.

According to its website, the Birdseye Residential Treatment Center treats males ages 13–17 who have a history of sexual problems that cannot be treated within the home. The treatment center combines teaching social, recreational, educational and life skills to help struggling youth. The website currently lists six staff members and four administrators.

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