TOOELE — A man who police say posted a confession on his Facebook page before turning himself in to police has been charged with engaging in illegal sexual activity with a 17-year-old boy.
Matthew Scott Harward, 31, of Grantsville, was charged Thursday in Tooele County’s 3rd District Court with unlawful sexual conduct with a 17-year-old, a third-degree felony.
On July 21, Harward went to the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office “to turn himself in for engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old juvenile,” according to charging documents.
Detectives interviewed the teenager that day who confirmed the sexual activity, the charges state. Deputies also noted in the court documents that Harward made a confession on his Facebook page, stating that he had engaged in an “affair” with the victim.
“I didn’t realize it at the time but I was grooming and raping someone I cared about deeply. I ruined the lives of him, my wife and my son. None of them deserved what I did. I deserve the consequences,” Harward wrote. “I’m not looking for victimhood or attempting to deflect blame. I’m confessing and giving people the ‘why’ they may be looking for. I didn’t feel like what I was doing was wrong.”
Harward ended his message by encouraging others like himself to seek help.
“I am on my way to turn myself in right now,” he wrote.
Nearly 650 comments had been made on Harward’s original post as of Tuesday, the majority of them denouncing Harward.
The boy who identified himself as Harward’s victim also posted several videos on social media, tearfully explaining how he looked up to Harward “like a father figure” and how he was groomed for abuse.
Harward was the singer of a local punk rock band and the two met through the punk rock scene. Shortly after Harward posted his message on Facebook, his band posted its own message saying it had broken up.
Harward is scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Aug. 3.