Booking photo for Brody Coates (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — The trial for a 38-year-old Nibley man continues to be held up because of COVID restrictions on in-person court hearings. Brody V. Coates was arrested last summer and later charged with allegedly having sex with an underage boy at a local motel.
Coates participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing by web conference with his attorney. He was previously charged with three counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; enticing a minor over the internet, a second-degree felony; and, furnishing alcohol to a minor, a class A misdemeanor.
Defense attorney Julie George told the court they needed an in-person preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine whether or not prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind Coates over for trial. She said being in-person would allow them to question the alleged victim and also review elements of law enforcement’s investigation.
Prosecutors claim Logan City police officers began investigating Coates after the alleged victim, who lives in Brigham City, reported engaging in sex acts with the suspect at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites.
The victim told officers, he met Coates through a social networking and online dating app. The two allegedly exchanged sexually explicit photographs of each other before agreeing to meet.
The case has been delayed partially because of coronavirus precautions issued by the Utah Supreme Court. The order from Chief Justice Durrant permits judges to hold hearings via remote video or telephone, including bench trials, but prohibits in-person hearings except in extenuating circumstances.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Angela Fonnesbeck granted attorneys more time. She ordered Coates to appear again in court June 7.
Coates is currently out of jail on $70,000 bail. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.