Father says he warned golf course about coach now suspected in underage sex investigation
(KUTV) -- "I don't think we should be text anymore because you're in your 20's and I'm only 13. So it is pretty weird if you know what I mean."
That is the text message Davis County father Justin Taylor said his 13-year-old daughter sent to her former golf coach after he allegedly messaged her in the middle of the night late last year.
"Can we just continue talking? Does anyone have to know?" the message response said.
Taylor said the messages came from Tanner Clark, who worked at the Valley View Golf Course in Layton.
Clark has since been arrested for 14 charges related to sexual conduct with minors.
While his daughter is not one of Clark's alleged victims, Taylor said he is frustrated at how his reports about Clark were handled.
“I wish that when I got a hold of Davis County and Valley View Golf Course, I wish they would have just listened to me and recognized like everybody else what direction [these messages] were going," Taylor said. “ I felt like I did everything I could, I told all the people I could tell, and nothing happened.”
Taylor said he first met Clark in 2017 when he signed his daughter and other kids up for private golf lessons. One night in November while his daughter was away on a soccer trip, Taylor said his daughter messaged him to say her former golf coach, Tanner Clark, was sending her messages at midnight.
“She was taking screen shots and telling us what was happening," Taylor said. “We were sick to our stomach”
While there was never any sexual communication between Taylor's daughter and Clark, he said it was concerning enough for him to approach golf course officials, police, and county human resources.
“It felt like he was trying to lead her, groom her into something,” Taylor said.
Clark remained employed at the course until June when Layton Police were contacted by two underage girls who reported they had exchanged nude pictures with Clark over Snapchat and Instagram.
One of the girls, a 17 year old, said she had sexual intercourse with Clark multiple times. Police received a warrant for Clark's phone and searched it. Jail documents indicate detectives found evidence that Clark was exchanging nude photos with the girl.
Layton Police said they are still investigating the case, including Clark's online communications. Clark was booked in July for suspicion of dealing in materials harmful to minors, unlawful sexual conduct, and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Taylor, meanwhile, said he is frustrated that his warning preceded Clark's arrest by six months. He wishes Clark would have been fired from his position at the golf course after the text message exchange with his daughter.
“In this world today, I just can’t imagine, you throw up the red flag, you warn people, you tell them and everybody disregards it," he said.
County officials confirmed to 2News that Clark was terminated from his part-time position at the golf course in June. Valley View Golf Course officials did not return multiple calls from 2News over the last week.
Attempts to reach Clark by phone and at his home in Weber County were unsuccessful. A probable cause statement said Clark invoked his Miranda rights when questioned by detectives.