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July 30, 2021

Man who said he was ‘too friendly’ with teen coworker charged with sex abuse

AMERICAN FORK — A fast-food restaurant employee in American Fork, who is also a registered sex offender, has been charged after police say he repeatedly touched a teen co-worker inappropriately.

Joseph “Joe” Michael Layman, 37, of American Fork, was charged Wednesday in 4th District Court with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

On March 30, a 16-year-old girl reported to police that Layman “had grabbed her butt multiple times over the course of her employment” or would “hug her when he saw her and would grab her butt while he hugged her,” according to charging documents.

A police affidavit states the girl had worked at an Arby’s in American Fork with Layman for seven months.

“The female victim then stated Joe will hug her and touches her almost every shift they have together or in passing between shifts,” the affidavit states.

Layman would also follow the girl into a back room while she was alone, would make inappropriate comments to her, and “put his hands up her shirt on her back and tell her how soft her skin was,” according to the charges.

“The victim stated that she felt very uncomfortable by the way that (Layman) would behave around her,” the charges state.

Police investigating the incident also talked to a second victim who said she had also been inappropriately touched by Layman, according to the charges.

“Both victims reported that (Layman) would also pull their hair and would put his hands around their throat. Both victims reported that the defendant put his hands around their throat and would shake their heads back and forth,” the charges state.

The second victim told her boyfriend, who was also an employee, what was happening, and he confronted Layman, the affidavit states.

“The victim stated Joe was not very happy with the co-worker for talking to her boyfriend. This is one reason the victim was scared to tell Joe to stop or to bring up his behavior,” according to the affidavit.

The 16-year-old girl told police she became so uncomfortable that she would check the schedule to find out when Layman was working with her and then “wear additional layers of clothing in order to prevent Joe from touching her or from seeing her body,” the affidavit states.

When questioned by police, Layman initially denied touching the girl’s buttocks but later stated he may have “swatted her butt to get the victim to move out of the way,” the affidavit states. When asked about the hair pulling and neck grabbing, he claimed he did it with another co-worker and that “I guess I was trying to include the (the victim) and everyone in the store doing it, but I guess she took it the wrong way,” according to the affidavit.

Layman told police “this is all his fault for being too friendly,” the affidavit states.

According to the police affidavit, Layman was convicted in Nevada for “statutory sexual seduction and is a registered sex offender for this offense.”

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