The Justice Files: Former athlete called a serial date rapist

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AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  Wherever Dayton Racer went he left a trail of victims.

A deputy Utah County attorney said at least eight women were sexually attacked by the former collegiate wrestler.

“He is essentially a serial date rapist,” said Julia Thomas with the Utah County attorney’s office.

Racer was sentenced earlier this month to prison for forcible sex abuse on a young woman in Utah County.  But at Racer’s sentencing, Thomas wanted the judge to understand Racer’s past of sexual improprieties.

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“These incidents in Utah County and Heber (City) are not the only times that Mr.  Racer has engaged in this kind of conduct,” Thomas said.

In 2018, Racer was arrested after allegations he raped a young woman during a music festival in Wasatch County.  He was a standout wrestler at Utah Valley University, but he was eventually kicked off the team and the school after he was charged with forcible sex abuse.  In late April, he was sentenced to prison.

“I think for me, going to trial and having to testify and everything, it was an empowering moment for me honestly,” said the victim whose identity will not be revealed.  “I was so scared to have to look at him and see him.”

But while he was awaiting trial, Racer was released from the county jail.  According to court records, he committed another sexual attack of a young woman the following year in Utah County. 

Months after the second offense, Racer was arrested again by Orem police following a complaint from another victim.  This time, Racer remained in jail unable to secure his release.

At his sentencing for the crime committed in Orem, Thomas told the judge that there were eight other victims but for various reasons were never prosecuted.  Thomas said Racer was expelled from Virginia Tech following a similar allegation.  She said two victims also made reports at Iowa and a separate incident arose in Columbus, Ohio.  Thomas said three female teens also filed reports about Racer’s sexual misconduct while in high school. 

Racer finally spoke about the crimes he committed at last week’s sentencing.

“I wanted to tell the victim and the family that I am very sorry for my actions,” Racer said.  “I want to commend the victim for her being courageous.  During the situation I may not have seen the wrong I was doing.  But after this substantial amount of time I have done a lot of growing.”

Racer’s Orem victim chose not to speak but her parents did.

“It was a very stressful incident and the way he hurt her really brought her down,” said the mother whose name will not be released.  “I don’t think he sees what he’s done as a bad thing.  He only sees the things that are going to go wrong for him.”

Judge Roger Griffin praised the young woman for her courage to stand up against Racer.

“You are not damaged goods, not a second class woman but a beautiful woman who has a full life in front of you,” he told her.  “I respect your courage for coming forward.”As for Racer, Judge Griffin said his apology was too little and too late.  

“You are a sexual predator and a bully,” the judge said.  “That’s who you are, a sexual predator and a bully.”  

Judge Griffin imposed the harshest prison sentence possible, one year to 15 years in prison.  But he said he will see that he serves all 15 years.  In addition, Racer’s sentence will only begin following the completion of his one to 15 year prison sentence that he was given in Wasatch County.

In Utah, judges hand out sentences that carry a range of years but can make recommendations.  The board of pardons makes the final determination as to when a defendant is eligible for parole.

Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100

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