was an LDS church member in Bluffdale, Utah; convicted of sexually abusing a disabled girl he was caring for; sentenced in October 2023 to between three years and life in prison, but that prison sentence was suspended; the judge ordered him to serve three years in jail, with credit for the almost year and a half he had already served, followed by six years of probation

Case Summary

Herbert Calvin Mataele was a Mormon church member in Bluffdale, Utah.

Mataele was convicted of sexually abusing a disabled girl he was caring for.

He was sentenced in October 2023 to between three years and life in prison, but that prison sentence was suspended; the judge ordered him to serve three years in jail, with credit for the almost year and a half he had already served, followed by six years of probation.

Sources
  1. Judge orders jail time, probation for man who sexually abused disabled girl
    view source details | 19 Oct 2023 | KSL
Sources excerpts
  • Judge orders jail time, probation for man who sexually abused disabled girl
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KSL
    Date published/accessed: 19 Oct 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    SALT LAKE CITY — A judge on Wednesday ordered jail time for a Bluffdale man who sexually abused a disabled girl he was caring for, rather than the probation sentence recommended by attorneys or the statutory prison sentence.

    On Sept. 22, Herbert Calvin Mataele, 56, appeared in court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to attempted object rape, a first-degree felony. The prosecutor and attorney recommended he be released on probation, their agreement in the plea deal, but the judge said the charge was "really serious" and decided to take time to consider it.

    Almost a month later, 3rd District Judge Dianna Gibson sentenced Mataele to between three years and life in prison, but suspended that prison sentence. Instead, she ordered him to serve three years in jail, with credit for the almost year and a half he has already served, followed by six years of probation.

    The judge also ordered him to register as a sex offender and to have no contact with the victim or the victim's family.

    Mataele was hired as a caretaker for a 14-year-old girl who functions on the level of a 7- or 8-year-old, according to charging documents. Her mother set up nanny cams around the home to monitor the girl's activities. In April 2022, the cameras instead captured the sexual abuse, charges state.

    When questioned by detectives, Mataele claimed he unintentionally touched the girl inappropriately about three to four weeks earlier. After that, he continued to do it purposely because he was "physically attracted" to the girl, according to the charges.

    Hansen read a statement from the victim's guardian and the victim at the initial sentencing and said the girl is continually affected by the abuse and can't trust people around her.

    "She lives with it in her mind like a fresh wound every day," her guardian said.

    Between the first sentencing hearing and when the sentence was given, Mataele's attorney Ralph Dellapiana filed a brief with the court arguing for probation. He acknowledged that the decision is the judge's but said, "It is good policy for judges to rely on and give some deference to the recommendations of counsel for each party, especially on complex cases with multiple factors."

    Mataele said he spoke with Salt Lake District deputy attorney Ryan Hansen, who told him in the videos of the sexual abuse that "the defendant's conduct did not appear to be forcible at any time." Dellapiana said he hoped that information would ease the judge's concerns about the attorneys' sentencing recommendations.

    The man was initially charged with two counts of object rape, a first-degree felony; and eight counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. Most of these charges were dismissed as part of the deal in which he pleaded guilty to only one charge.

    Mataele told the judge he was grateful for the time he had already served in jail at his first sentencing hearing and asked for a second chance.

    "I realize what I did was wrong," he said.

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