Choir director arrested for child sex abuse

OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Police say a church choir director did more than make music for the ears. The choir director, Jose Zamarippa is now behind bars accused of having sexual relations with a 12 year old girl who police say was a member of his choir.

The 27-year old was a volunteer choir director at the Rios De Agua Vivo church on Grant Avenue in Ogden.

But over the past two months, investigators claim the relationship turned sexual “That relationship evolved into the exchange of sexually explicit text messages,” said Lt. Lane Findlay of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. “There were some written notes that were also exchanged and also some nude photos that were exchanged.”

Authorities said Zamarippa who is now in jail had sexual relations with the 12 year old at her Washington Terrace home. The church’s pastor says there was no sign of trouble at his church before this happened.

“(Well) I’m surprised,” said Pastor Manuel Gayton. “Zamarippa was a good person and never had problems with him before these accusations were made.” At Zamarippa’s home in Ogden, family members gathered in support of their brother. His sister said he’s being framed by the girl’s mother. “It was such a setup,” said Vividiana Zamarripa. “We knew this was going to come because they were planning this back then.”

She claimed Zamarippa had an affair with the girl’s mother and broke it off. “She’s putting all these lies on him,” said the sister. “She’s putting the daughter, telling the daughter what to say. But everything’s a lie.” But police said they have damaging evidence from Zamarippa himself.

“He did admit to a relationship with this victim and that relationship had gone on for some time,” said Lt. Findlay.

Late Thursday, the Weber County attorney filed felony charges against Zamarippa. He is facing charges of aggravated child sex abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor and dealing in harmful materials to a minor.

In addition, police filed an affidavit with the courts.

Acccording to a detective with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, Zamarippa was read his rights before offering the following information: “During the interview Jose admitted to engaging in text messaging with the victim. Jose admitted to sending several nude penis picture to the victim via text messaging. Jose also admitted that the victim sent him multiple nude photos of her vagina as he was trying to help her determine if she was a virgin. Jose also admitted that he met with the victim on 10 different occasions and they would engage in what sound as “dry humping” as Jose said that the victim would straddle him and he would have his erect penis pressed against her vagina. Jose admitted that on one occasion he was at the victim’s house and she was straddling her on the couch and he had his penis out of his pants when the victim’s father arrived home and he had to leave. Jose said that if the father of the victim had not returned home they may have engage in sexual intercourse.”

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