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A Uintah County Man was Arrested For Unlawful Sexual Relations With A Minor


3/19/24


Vernal, Ut.—On March 12th, 2024, the Vernal City Police Department was assigned to follow up on a report of a 21-year-old male, Joshua Jay Zook, having sexual relations with a 15-year-old female.


March 13th, 2024, the victim was interviewed at the Uintah/Dagget Children's Justice Center. During the forensic interview, the victim stated that she used to work with Joshua (now 22 years old) at a Vernal restaurant.


The victim stated after working with Joshua for some time, he believed the two were in a relationship. She said there were several occasions when Joshua kissed and touched her at work. On several occasions, the victim told Joshua she was 15 years old and had a boyfriend, but she told the detective she felt bad for Joshua and wanted to make him happy.


The victim stated that sometime in December 2023, she and a friend went to Joshua's motor home, and while there, she and Joshua ended up being alone for a short period of time. During that time, Joshua began kissing and touching the victim. She said her friend and Joshua's roommate returned to the motor home. The victim and her friend then left and went home.


The female victim stated after leaving the motor home, Joshua texted her, saying he wanted to have sex. She said she felt bad for Joshua and walked back to his motor home. When the victim arrived, she stated Joshua laid her down on the couch, took off her clothes, and had sex with her. The victim said she eventually went back home afterward.


On March 19th, 2024, Detective Cannon met with Joshua at his residence and asked him to come to the police department to speak with him. Once at the police department, Joshua was advised of his rights, per Miranda.


Joshua initially described his relationship with the 15-year-old as just friends and coworkers. After speaking with him further, he admitted to having sex with the young female.


Joshua stated he had gone to sleep after the victim left the first time but got woken up by her returning and wanting to have sex. He then said he didn't know the female was only 15 years old but knew she was under 18 years old. Joshua stated that his friend later told him she was only 14 years old.


Joshua was arrested and taken to the Uintah County Jail and booked in for one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a third-degree felony. He was also booked in on another charge in a separate case.





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