Home Government County Gollaher sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in state prison

Gollaher sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in state prison

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A Morgan jury convicted Scott L. Gollaher of four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in January, and this week the judge who presided over the case for the past three years sentenced Gollaher to a minimum of 30 years in state prison.
In the summer of 2012, Gollaher sexually abused two 11-year-old girls at a home he was building on over 24 acres in Morgan County at 246 East Woods Creek Road.  Gollaher previously served a 16-year sentence, from 1996 to 2011, for child sexual abuse.  Upon his release, he was a registered sex offender in Salt Lake County. Since he did not yet reside in the Porterville home in 2012—only recreated there on the weekends—he was not registered in Morgan County as a sex offender.  Both girls were not residents of Morgan County.
Judge Noel S. Hyde said he considered the gravity and circumstances of Gollaher’s offenses, the history and character of the defendant, and the number of victims when he handed down two sets of 15-years-to-life sentences to run consecutively.
Morgan’s reaction
Morgan County Attorney Jann Farris said he was pleased with the sentence.  While the minimum could have been 15 years and the maximum could have been 60, Farris said the judge followed the recommendations detailed in an Adult Probation and Parole presentence investigative report.
In the end, the Board of Pardons will decide how long Gollaher stays in the state prison.  Gollaher, who is almost 57 years old, will be 87 before the Board of Pardons considers scheduling a parole hearing.  In addition, other similar charges are pending against Gollaher in a Salt Lake County case.  The length of the sentence from those charges could be tacked on to the end of Morgan’s 30 years, Farris said.
“We feel very relieved to have this part done,” Farris said.  “The jury verdict was rewarding, but the sentence makes it even better.  It is a nice one to have behind us.”
Judge’s comments
Judge Hyde said Gollaher’s offenses were severe.
“They are grave offenses to the innocence of childhood.  The gravity is at a very high level,” Hyde told Gollaher as he stood in shackles and Salt Lake County prison garb.  “The conduct and reaction of the defendant throughout this trial is to justify his conduct.”
Many times during his three-week trial in January, Gollaher and his wife, Sharon, said they made it a point to inform parents of his past crimes, and then left it up to the parents whether or not they wanted their children around him.  He said his only responsibility was to inform parents.
“The defendant is responsible for that conduct.  It is not the responsibility of the parents of the victims or the victims,” Judge Hyde said.  “They are the victims.  They are not here because anything they did was wrong.  There should be no guilt or shame at any level.”
Victims and their parents in the court gallery audibly wept at the judge’s words.
The judge said that the chances of rehabilitating Gollaher are “remote” and therefore withheld any sentencing contingencies related to rehabilitation. “The impact of his conduct is inexcusable,” as is his absence of remorse and shifting of responsibility, Hyde continued at Wednesday’s sentencing.
Victim’s statements
Prior to sentencing, the court heard about the impact of Gollaher’s actions from parents and family members of the two minor victims.
One father said that his daughter’s abuse at Gollaher’s hands had led to a loss of her confidence and ability to feel safe, as well as anger and frustration with Gollaher.  “I hope she can regain the ability to trust men, good men, in the future,” he said through tears.  “I urge the court to keep this sexual predator contained.”
One mother said her daughter’s innocence had been taken away, leading to guilt, embarrassment and shame first as she was “exposed to a man’s perverted desires,” then over and over again as the case dragged on for more than three years.  “She had to face her perpetrator again” when she was questioned on the stand by her abuser, who represented himself in court.  “She did it so it would not happen to other girls,” not because she was brave or wanted to punish Gollaher.  “It changed her view of the world.”
Another mother said she was present at the sentencing “out of duty to protect others.”  She said that as the result of Gollaher’s abuse, her daughter had to sleep at her parents’ bedside because of nightmares.
Gollaher’s “arrogance is appalling,” she told the judge as she plead with him to “deliver us from evil.”
Farris took to the podium as family members in the audience wept.
“This has been an emotional case for a lot of people, and that is appropriate and a needed part of recovery, a catharsis,” said Farris, who asked the judge never to make Gollaher a free man again.
“The defendant shows no remorse.  He is such a narcissist that he has come here today to tell us how he is a victim,” Farris said.  “He is a master manipulator, a monster.  We are absolutely out to get him, to make sure justice is served for the victims.”
Farris concluded his remarks by quoting from a letter Gollaher’s niece sent the judge to consider before handing down his sentence.  The niece, a Farmington resident, asked the judge to hand down the strongest sentence possible because Gollaher “has been a pedophile his whole adult life.”
Gollaher maintains innocence
Gollaher maintained his innocence during the sentencing hearing, saying his perceived arrogance was really defiance because he knows he has never touched girls inappropriately.
“I am not remorseful for something I did not do,” Gollaher said.  “I feel sick, sad and embarrassed because our system is so reckless.”  He claimed that he did not cause his victims trauma, but that the system using several adults interrogating minors and subjecting them to physical investigation did that.  He said that for a “pure and innocent child” to come up with allegations of abuse proves that it was done at the suggestion of a “reckless detective” who put words in their mouths.
The sentencing stretched on much longer than expected, more than two hours, as Gollaher attempted to delay the proceedings.  He claimed many errors in the court record that would “be considered scripture when approved by the court” if not corrected.  He pointed out several errors in the sentencing report including spelling and grammatical errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and poor word choice, as well as many items that Gollaher considered unsubstantiated, “bold-faced lies,” fabrications, falsehoods, misrepresentations and information “taken out of context.”
“This could be the poster child of misquotes and misrepresentations,” Gollaher said.
Gollaher took issue with Adult Probation and Parole’s sentencing report that called him “arrogant, deceptive and manipulative.”
In all, Gollaher said he had 21 different issues in the “trash can of a case” that should be corrected before sentencing or appeal, or “kicking the can down the road.”
At one point, Farris tired of Gollaher’s “antics” and formally objected.  “He continues to play games to the last second,” Farris said, having to shout over Gollaher.  “I am tired of this silliness.”
Hyde did agree to correcting typographical errors and striking information mentioning claims that had been dismissed or expunged.  “I recognize the defendant may not agree with the facts alleged,” Hyde said, asking Gollaher to restrain his outbursts if he wanted to remain present in the court.
Gollaher reprimanded the judge for not providing him a fair trial and financial means to conduct the trial while acting in his own defense.  “You recklessly handled this case, and you did not want on record your mis-steps,” Gollaher told the judge.  “I will fight, and I will fight hard, because that is my right.  You convicted an innocent man.”
Multiple times, Hyde told Gollaher he had the right to appeal his decision within 30 days.
“I am not cutting off or curtailing your rights of appeal,” Hyde told Gollaher.  “Those rights are preserved.”

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