Former junior high teacher from Payson charged with 10 counts of rape

Zachery Kent Denison. Photo Courtesy: Utah County Jail

PAYSON, Utah, Dec. 7, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A former junior high teacher from Payson is facing 10 charges of first-degree felony rape.

A probable cause statement from Utah County said Zachery Kent Denison, 28, is being held without bail in Utah County Jail.

On Nov. 29, the arresting officer from Santaquin Police Department was contacted by a corporal, who said he was interviewing a victim on a reported sex offense. The victim said she been in a sexual relationship with a former school teacher at Mt. Nebo Junior High in Payson, identified as Denison. The suspect was the victim’s basketball coach, the statement said.

The victim told officers she would have sexual relations with Denison approximately once a month for between a year and two years, in various locations throughout the Utah County area, as well as in a vehicle. The relationship began when she was 14 and Denison was 26, in February 2019.

On Dec. 1, the arresting officer met with Denison and his attorney at the Payson Police Department. Denison was read his Miranda rights, and allegedly admitted he initiated contact with the victim while teaching at Mt. Nebo Junior High. He said the sexual intercourse was consensual. He said the two had sexual relations approximately 10 times, beginning in February 2019 and ending in August 2020, including one time at the victim’s home. He also said the two exchanged nude photographs of one another via Instagram. Denison voluntarily surrendered his laptop and cell phone to officials.

Denison also taught social studies and basketball at the Berthoud High School, in Berthoud, Colorado, and that employment ended on approximately Nov. 1.


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