LOGAN — A 26-year-old Hyrum man accused of voyeurism and sexting with the teenage victim has waived his right to a preliminary hearing in preparation for a possible plea deal. Zachary T. Oakden remains in the Cache County Jail since being arrested earlier this month.
Oakden participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference from jail. He was previously charged with 7 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; and enticing a minor by internet or text, a third-degree felony.
Public defender Ryan Holdaway told the court, Oakden wished to waive his rights to the preliminary hearing, where prosecutors would have presented their evidence in the case. He explained that they also wished to plead “not guilty” to the charges and were working out a possible plea deal.
In December, deputies claim they uncovered a video showing Oakden hiding a camera inside a bathroom He filmed a teenage girl disrobing and taking a shower.
Deputies obtained a search warrant to view Oakden’s phone. It allegedly contained nude images of at least 10 minors.
On February 1, Cache County sheriff’s deputies were contacted again by the mother of the 16-year-old girl. She claimed that Oakden, who had been released on bail, was texting her daughter. The messages were sexual in nature.
The deputy spoke to probation officials. They confirmed, Oakden had been ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, while his first criminal case progresses through the court.
Deputies arrested Oakden again. He was later ordered to be held without bail.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Holdaway asked the court to consider releasing Oakden again while they work out the possible plea deal.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray opposed the request. He noted, Oakden allegedly started sexting with the victim after being released from jail the last time.
Judge Brian Cannell said he would allow attorneys to argue their motions during a detention hearing. He ordered Oakden to appear again in court March 4.