MANTI—A 30-year-old Kearns man has been sentenced to 1-15 years in prison for exchanging sexually oriented text messages and engaging in petting-type activity with an 11-year-old Manti girl.
James Fackrell pleaded guilty on April 4 to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, and one count of enticement of a minor by internet or text, a third-degree felony.
According to a probable cause statement, on June 12, 2021, the child’s mother reported the girl was missing. By the time Sheriff ’s Deputy Jordan Garff arrived at the home, the girl had returned home, accompanied by Fackrell, who was 29 at the time.
Fackrell told Garff that he had been coming down to Manti to visit the 11-year-old. Fackrell said they would “meet up and talk, and that he felt a special connection” to her, Garff reported in the probable-cause statement.
The mother said she was in possession of her daughter’s cellphone and had found several messages Fackrell had sent to the girl. She turned the phone over to Garff.
Garff found messages from
Fackrell along with several pictures on the phone, including a
photo of pillows and an air mattress. He also found a sexually
explicit photo the girl had sent
Fackrell told Garff he had brought an air mattress to Manti so he and the girl could have a comfortable place to sit and talk. Fackrell also stated that he and the 11-year-old had not done anything except cuddle and kiss.
However, he admitted that on multiple occasions he and the girl had touched each other. When asked where, he motioned to his groin, but said it was only over their clothing.
A search of Fackrell’s phone revealed additional explicit photos. Fackrell tried to justify his actions to Garff by stating that he had “never felt drawn to somebody like that.”
At the sentencing hearing, Fackrell’s attorney argued that putting the man in prison would constitute a danger to him because of his exceptionally youthful look and the attitude of some prison gangs toward child sex offenders. He asked for a jail sentence rather than prison.
The girl’s parents begged the court for a lengthy prison sentence that would keep Fackrell out of contact with their daughter for many years. They stated they were terrified that their daughter would run away if Fackrell was released because their daughter claimed to be in love with him.
In his own defense, Fackrell said he knew that what he did was wrong but begged the court’s forgiveness. He said he very much feared a prison sentence and tearfully begged the judge not to send him there.
Judge Mandy Larsen was not moved. She cited the age difference between him and the victim and asked how he could even think an 11-year-old was mentally capable of a romantic involvement with a man of his age.
She said she didn’t believe Fackrell’s protestations of remorse in his statement in support of his plea, saying that he was still trying to say that the 11-year-old boresome responsibility for his actions.
The judge sentenced Fackrell to 1 to 15 years in prison on the second-degree felony count and 0 to 5 years on the third-degree count.