Sexual assault advocate claims Attorney General’s office protected retired judge from charges

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SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Terry Mitchell is furious with the Attorney General’s Office.  

And that’s why she’s become an a sexual assault advocate. She’s hoping changes can be made with the way victims are treated during an investigation.

“This isn’t easy for me,” said Terry Mitchell.  “This is really painful in every sense of the word.” 

Mitchell appeared Tuesday afternoon before the victim’s complaint subcommittee, a branch of the Utah Office for Victims of Crime.

In 1981 she claims she was raped by now retired federal judge Richard Roberts. Back then, Roberts was a Utah prosecutor in the murder case of Joseph Paul Franklin. In 2013 Franklin was executed for multiple murder in other states.

Mitchell said she felt the Attorney General’s Office protected Judge Roberts during the investigation.

“They said it’s your word against his and it was 1981 that this happened and victim’s rights didn’t occur until 1987,” Mitchell said.  “There’s nothing they can do.  (They said) ‘Gee we’re sorry it happened, maybe you can get better and let this go.'”

Despite his admission of having sex with Mitchell, no rape charges were ever filed.

Ric Cantrell, the chief of staff for the Attorney General’s Office sent the following email to News4Utah in response to Mitchell’s claims before the subcommittee.

Cantrell wrote: “Terry Mitchell was undoubtedly victimized by Richard Warren Roberts.
The Attorney General’s Office conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and a final report was drafted by renowned victim advocate and former federal district court judge Paul Cassell.  Professor Cassell’s report concludes that under the law of 1981 we did not have sufficient evidence to charge Richard Roberts with a felony. The most we could have charged was a misdemeanor and that was not enough to trigger an extradition. Crimes are prosecuted under the law in place at the time the crime was committed.
 
The report did recommend other avenues that this office could pursue. Initially, to meet with the Department of Justice. We did that. Second, meet with the district attorney’s office.  We did that. Third, meet with the federal district court judges in the State of Utah. We did that.
 
Going beyond Judge Cassell’s recommendations, the AG’s Office filed a complaint with the D.C. Court of Appeals. Copies of our complaint and the Cassell Report were also sent to Senators Hatch and Lee, and Congressman Chaffetz, in hopes of initiating judicial impeachment proceedings.
 
Further, we also contacted the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Department of Justice. 
The day we filed our complaint with the DC Court of Appeals, Richard Roberts left the bench.  The office shared all information in accordance with its standard practice in criminal investigations and in compliance state law.”
 
Mitchell sued Roberts last year.  But she told the committee that Roberts knew ahead of time that the lawsuit was going to be filed.  On the day she filed Roberts handed in his resignation.  Mitchell blamed the Attorney General’s Office for giving Roberts a heads up about the lawsuit.

She said by Roberts resigning before the lawsuit was filed, he retired saving his pension and prevented him from being impeached.

“That’s why I’m standing up because I can’t let it win,” Mitchell told the committee. “I can not let these predator enablers win.”

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