MANTI, Utah (ABC4) — The Sixth Judicial District Court in Manti approved release on bail for a Provo man accused of sexually abusing multiple children over the course of 30 years.
David Lee Hamblin, 68, has been charged in several cases of “ritualistic” sexual abuse. And though the community petitioned for no bail, Hamblin was approved release on bail on Wednesday, March 22.
Judge Roger Griffin recommended a bail of $100,000 for Hamblin on March 6, after Hamblin’s lawyer said the state of Utah did not have enough evidence to show “clear and convincing evidence” that he was a current danger to an individual/community or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
The possibility of bail for Hamblin drew ire from many community members, including a petition that was started recently to show officials that the community supports the action to deny his bail. It gathered 808 out of 1,000 signatures as of March 22. However, even with the support of the community, Hamblin was granted release on bail.
Hamblin was given a pretrial protected order, which prohibits any direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim. He is also required to wear a GPS ankle monitor, prohibiting Defendant from contact with children, and requiring him to surrender his passport to the defense counsel.
Court documents say Hamblin sexually abused a child between 1987 to 1993 in Provo and Manti. Additionally, another victim came forward to the police in October 2022 saying they were “repeatedly sexually abused” by Hamblin in the early 1990s in Spring City.
As a result, Hamblin was charged with six first-degree aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Manti as well as six other felony charges relating to sodomy on a child in American Fork.
Earlier this month, Hamblin filed a motion to dismiss the case in Manti because, at the time of the alleged abuse, there was a four-year statute of limitations. That means if the abuse occurred before April 28, 1992, the defense is bound by the statute of limitations and those charges must be dismissed.
Officials at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hamblin in September 2022 in connection to those “ritualistic” child abuse cases after opening an investigation in late May 2022. The term “ritualistic” means that more than one person was involved, the abuse was considered organized, and there may be a religious element to the abuse.
“It’s hard to believe that somebody would do this to another human being,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s very, very disturbing.”
Back in 2012, Hamblin was faced with 18 felony charges relating to child sexual abuse, but those charges were dismissed. Hamblin then tried to get his record expunged in court in August 2022.