- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A former director of a Utah home for boys with sexual behavioral problems has been arrested on suspicion of felony sex abuse.

Utah authorities say Teresa Lee Cope, 34, had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy who was in the treatment facility she oversaw during the spring of 2013.

Cope is out on bail and has not been charged. There were no phone numbers listed in her name, and it’s unclear whether she has an attorney. She doesn’t have any criminal history in Utah, online court records show.

Deputies arrested Cope last week after the teenager’s family contacted the state’s child welfare agency earlier this month and accused her of abusing the boy, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

Cope is accused of engaging in sexual acts with the teen on several occasions, some of which occurred at the treatment facility and some off site. Officials in Washington County in southern Utah are investigating whether an encounter happened there, which could lead to more charges, Cannon said.

Cope was the director of the Birdseye Boys Ranch in Utah County from June 2012 until she resigned in December, said Odell Erickson, quality assurance director for Heritage Youth Services, which owns the treatment center.

Investigators don’t believe Cope abused any other boys, but they are checking to make sure, Cannon said. They are also trying to determine whether any other officials at the ranch knew about what was happening. So far, that doesn’t appear to be the case, Cannon said.

Authorities expect charges to be filed. Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said his office hasn’t received the case and therefore hasn’t made a decision.

Cannon said the treatment facility has done a lot of good for many teenage boys and has earned a good reputation over the decades it’s been open. The center treats boys who have sexual behavioral problems and pornography addiction.

“We’re deeply saddened by the incident,” said Erickson, the center’s spokesman.

Facility officials learned of the accusations a day before Cope’s arrest, Erickson said. Parents of other boys in the 12-bed treatment center have been made aware of the situation, he said.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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