Susan Brock sentenced to 13 years in prison - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Susan Brock sentenced to 13 years in prison

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Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 3:49 pm | Updated: 10:51 am, Tue Apr 12, 2011.

The estranged wife of Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for her sexual relationship with a Chandler boy.

After her release from prison, Susan Brock, 49, will be placed on lifetime probation and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Pinal County prosecutors had pushed for the maximum 15 years in prison, portraying Susan Brock as a predator who repeatedly molested the boy after initially pursuing his older brother without success — all while they said the Mormon church concealed the abuse. Pinal County deputy attorney Jason Holmberg presented emails and documents that detailed the sexual relationship of more than three years, and said Bishop Troy Hansen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been informed of the allegations of sexual abuse from fellow Bishop Matt Mires, but did not report it to authorities.

A Church official denied the prosecution's allegations.

“This matter was reported to the police when it was first disclosed to Church authorities before Susan Brock confessed,” said Church spokesperson Kim Farah. “One of the victims reported to the police as encouraged and facilitated by the Church.

“Arizona law is clear that no priest can disclose any confession even when it concerns child abuse. Nevertheless, Church leaders worked effectively within the law, and with those involved, to facilitate prompt reporting to the police while protecting the victim.

“It is absolutely false to suggest that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints engaged in doing anything other than help bring the perpetrator to justice in this tragic case.”

The victim was not present in court, but his parents were, and Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Carter Olson read a letter from the boy, who is now 17 and attending school out of state.

The boy stated Susan Brock reached out to him and he trusted her for guidance with school and life issues.

“I did not know that she was slowly and methodically setting a trap for me,” the victim wrote. “She was a master of what she did. She made me feel cheated by my parents. She made me feel less in their eyes. Susan’s abuse has caused me to miss so much of life.

“I am determined to get back up. I hope to never hear her speak, or think of her again.”

The victim’s father gave a detailed speech about how the relationship has destroyed his son and their family and that they supported the longer sentence of 15 years.

Olson said there were mitigating factors in the lesser sentence: Brock was abused physically by her natural father and sexually by a stepfather. But there were also aggravating factors: repeated offenses over time rather than an isolated incident, grooming the boy since he was 11 and sexually abusing him from the age of 14, and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars. Expensive gadgets and clothing she bought for him were displayed in the courtroom on Thursday.

Emotional speeches also were made in support of Susan Brock by her daughters Becky Hollebeck and Beth Ann, as well as her younger brother Jason Shields and her mother Charlene Shields.

Susan Brock, who appeared remorseful in a striped Maricopa County jail uniform, apologized to the victim and his family. “My heart is full of sorrow and regret. I would like to apologize to the victim and his family for the pain I’ve caused them. I have fasted and prayed for many days, asking for forgiveness. I have offended everyone I love and I know I need to take responsibility for my actions.”

Brock, her brown hair now flecked with gray, said she would do everything she could to make it up to them and make things right and was willing to accept whatever sentence the judge imposed.

A restitution hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 7 involving the cost of counseling and other matters that the family has incurred. She will receive credit for 162 days spent in jail.

Her estranged husband, Fulton Brock, was not in the courtroom but released a statement that said: “I support the decision of the court.”

Prosecutors said that after Susan Brock was arrested, Fulton Brock tried to set up a meeting to pressure Mormon church officials and the boy’s family for forgiveness, but that meeting never took place.

On Monday, Chandler police detectives said they served a search warrant to get handwriting samples from Fulton Brock.

Earlier this year, Susan Brock pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court to three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Susan Brock began the three-year relationship with the boy after her daughter Rachel Brock, 21, began having sexual encounters with him, according to police. Rachel Brock has been indicted by a grand jury on five sexually related counts of sexual conduct with a minor and furnishing harmful materials to a minor.

Court records show Rachel Brock sent nude photos of herself and an explicit video to the boy’s cell phone. The trysts occurred when she was 18 and the boy was 13.

The boy attended the same church as the Brocks. Documents show Susan Brock initially denied any wrongdoing during a meeting with a church official in 2009, but that Fulton Brock took an iPhone his wife gave the boy and put it in a lockbox. The phone allegedly had sexual content Susan sent the boy, and officers later obtained the phone through a search warrant to examine its contents.

Holmberg said Thursday that Fulton Brock told investigators he didn’t know where the phone was, but that after police conducted a 45-minute search of his home he turned it over. “In the end, he did the right thing,” Holmberg said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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