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Community shocked after Grantsville High School teacher arrested on charges of sex abuse

A teacher and coach from Grantsville High School is in jail with no option for bail after he was arrested on several a charges of sex abuse. (KUTV)

A teacher and coach from Grantsville High School is in jail with no option for bail after he was arrested on several a charges of sex abuse.

33-year-old Richard Craig Harrison is accused of sexually abusing a former student who graduated from Grantsville several years ago but recently went to police.

"We were able to validate her reported claims and interviewed the teacher," said Detective James Skinner with Grantsville Police.

Skinner said the former student told police she was abused between 2017 and 2018 when she was a student at Grantsville High and was 14 to 15 years old.

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2News spoke with several Grantsville residents who did not want to be on record, but indicated Harrison was well-liked in the community for his role as a coach and teacher at the school.

Steve Thurgood, who coaches tennis for Grantsville High, but does not teach there, said many people in the community are shocked by news of Harrison's arrest.

"I know him quite well and never saw anything that could make me think that would happen," he said.

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A probable cause document filed in court by Skinner said the victim reported that Harrison grabbed her buttocks seven times at different locations on campus and grabbed her breasts twice.

"The abuse happened in the ice room, storage closet, weight room and portable classroom," wrote Skinner in the court document.

On one occasion, the victim reported that Harrison put his hand down her pants and touched her private area.

She said that after each incident of abuse, Harrison would send her a message asking if she was okay and asking her to delete messages and not tell anyone what happened. The victim told police she felt she had to comply.

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Police said Harrison admitted to touching the girl's butt.

Skinner said the victim in this case went to police because she did not want to live with what happened anymore. Victims of child sex abuse often wait years to report the abuse.

"This is the first step in the healing process for them is to tell their story, and she was brave enough to come forward to tell her story," he said.

Marie Denson, spokesperson for Tooele School District, said Harrison is on paid administrative leave. That could change if he resigns or if the case proceeds in court.