Former Rich Co. commissioner facing child sex abuse charges takes own life

Thomas J. Weston, who was on the Rich County (Utah) Commission for 18 years and faced felony child sex abuse charges, was found dead last week from an apparent suicide. (COURTESY PHOTO)

EVANSTON — Former Rich County (Utah) Commissioner Thomas J. Weston of Laketown was found dead on Friday, June 5, said Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey. Weston, 68, was arrested on Jan. 24 and charged with two felony counts — sodomy on a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child — in Utah’s 1st District Court. Stacey told the Herald Wednesday that Weston’s death appears to be a suicide.

According to court documents, the Rich County Sheriff’s Office received a report on Jan. 22 that Weston had sexually assaulted a minor female relative “numerous times over about a 1 1/2- to 2-year period,” dating back to 2018.

On Jan. 24, just two days after the report of abuse, Stacey set up a monitored phone call between the victim and Weston, during which the former commissioner admitted to abusing the child, according to court documents. During the call, which was overheard by detectives, Weston allegedly said he did things that would “probably put me in prison the rest of my life.” Stacey arrested Weston that same day.

Weston was out of jail on $50,000 bail. Since he was a long-time commissioner — he served 18 years on the commission before retiring in 2018 — the case was being prosecuted by the Cache County Attorney’s Office. A clerk there said Weston was last in court on May 12 for a pretrial conference. A trial date had not been set. He was facing a minimum sentence of 15 years to life if convicted of the charges. According to court documents, prison time was mandatory for the charges Weston was facing before his death.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). If you are a victim of sexual assault, help is available by calling the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

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