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Idaho man’s sex abuse conviction overturned

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The Utah Supreme Court has overturned the 2010 conviction of an Idaho man on charges of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl at a St. George hotel.

The high court, in a 4-1 decision handed down last week, sent the case of Michael Larrabee, of the Twin Falls, Idaho, area, back to 5th District Court for a new trial.

A jury found Larrabee, 56, guilty of two counts of sexual abuse involving a relative and one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor in a case that dates back to nearly a decade ago.

But justices determined Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum prejudiced the jury by introducing the possibility that Larrabee might have been accused of sexual abuse by another person, the Spectrum of St. George reported.

Justices said the court had barred any discussion of the claim against Larrabee by a family member whose account was judged to be “unreliable,” but Shaum’s comments appeared to violate that order.