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David Hawkins

Other Child Sex Abuse Exonerations from Utah
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/David_Hawkins%202.jpeg
In November 2006, 45-year-old David Hawkins was charged with sexually assaulting two of his sons, ages 9 and 13, in Salt Lake County, Utah.

Hawkins claimed the allegations were false and the result of pressure from his ex-wife to drive the boys away from their father.

On October 17, 2007, Hawkins went to trial in Third District-West Jordan Court. The two boys testified that he molested them during their baths. Hawkins’s two other children testified that they did not believe the molestation had occurred and that their siblings had made up the allegations.

Hawkins did not testify. On October 18, 2007, the jury convicted Hawkins of two counts of sodomy to a child and one count of aggravated abuse of a child. Prior to sentencing, Hawkins retained a new attorney to handle his appeal.

On November 8, 2008, after the new attorney filed a motion for new trial, the prosecution agreed to a plea agreement with Hawkins. He pled guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a child and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of one to 15 years in prison.

About two years after the conviction, both boys began telling some relatives that their accusations were false, but nothing came of their recantations.

On March 3, 2015, Hawkins was released from prison on parole and required to register as a sex offender.

In May 2017, the boys wrote a letter to the court recanting their claims. One of the boys, now in his twenties, said, “For many years, my mother and father had much strife and contention. I feel as if the children were hurt and we were caught in the middle of things. We wanted to be loved and things got drastically out of hand. I do wish to try and fix the complicated situation in this letter.

“I do honestly say that David Eugene Hawkins did in no ways physically or mentally cause any sexual harm to any one of us,” he wrote.

Based on the letters, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case, but declined to take any action, saying the conviction should stand.

In November 2018, Gregory Skordas, the attorney who defended Hawkins at his trial, and attorney Kaytlin Beckett filed a petition seeking a declaration of factual innocence.

In September 2019, the Utah Attorney General’s office said it did not oppose the petition.

On September 6, 2019, Judge Richard McKelvie granted the petition.The certificate of innocence entitled Hawkins to $350,000 in state compensation for the time spent in custody.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 9/11/2019
State:Utah
County:Salt Lake
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2006
Convicted:2007
Exonerated:2019
Sentence:2 to 30 years
Race:White
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:45
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No