Associate professor at BYU charged with sexual abuse

Jun 25, 2020, 4:54 PM
byu sexual abuse...
BYU professor Michael James Clay, 45, of Springville, has been charged in Provo’s 4th District Court with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. He is accused of sexually abusing one of his students. Photo credit: Brigham Young University

PROVO, Utah — A now-former associate professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) faces charges related to sexual abuse of a student. 

A spokesperson for BYU says Michael James Clay is no longer an employee of the school. She referred all other questions to prosecutors. Clay did not return reporters’ phone calls for comment.

Clay, 45, of Springville, is accused of sexually abusing a student in a program he oversaw at BYU. According to his online bio, obtained by the Deseret News, Clay was in charge of the Urban and Regional Planning program under BYU’s Geography Department. 

Charging documents allege Clay told the victim, who is not native to the United States, “if she trusted him more, he might be able to hire her but that he wanted to wait to see how she improved.” 

Charging documents state the victim said she met with Clay in his office more than 20 times between January and March. She told investigators she saw Clay as a mentor or therapist figure, and he promised to help address her “emotional difficulties.” 

The charging documents describe at least two occasions in which the victim accused Clay of inappropriate physical contact. On one occasion, she said he drove her up a canyon and touched her buttocks through her clothing. 

“[Clay] asked if it was OK,” the document states. “The victim said it was OK because she felt like she had to say yes.” 

At another meeting in Clay’s office, the charges allege Clay had the victim straddle his lap, then asked if she liked it. 

“The victim said she did not and that it kind of hurt,” the charging document said. “[He] said the victim needed to practice and try to connect more.” 

Clay faces two counts of forcible sexual abuse, second-degree felonies, in 4th District Court. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Ike Yospe

BYU Big 12 Preview Special

The BYU Football Big XII schedule is finally here! Friday February 3 at noon, don’t miss a special hour as KSL’s BYU Insider Mitch Harper Breaks it all down and previews one of the most exciting BYU football seasons to date! Plus don’t miss extended coverage on Cougar Sports Saturday, Saturday from 12-3 PM on […]
16 hours ago
Shots were reportedly fired in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School on Thursday afternoon, l...

Teen arrested for firing shots in Taylorsville High parking lot

A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the shots fired last week in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School.
16 hours ago
humane society...
Elizabeth Weiler

Humane Society of Utah says to adopters “come one, come all”

The Humane Society of Utah says their shelters are filling up, especially with large breed dogs and puppies.
16 hours ago
amber alert...
Adam Small

Suspect in Layton Amber Alert charged

LAYTON, Utah– Prosecutors in Davis County have officially filed charges against a man suspected of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy, which prompted police to send out an Amber Alert in December. New charging documents allege Aaron Michael Zeman, 26, also known as Tadashi Kojima, had been communicating with the 13-year-old Layton boy as far back as […]
16 hours ago
Tyre Nichols...
Elizabeth Weiler

MLK invoked as Tyre Nichols’ life is celebrated in Memphis

(CNN) — Mourners, from Vice President Kamala Harris to the activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, on Wednesday celebrated the life of Tyre Nichols, whose death at the hands of police in Memphis led to second-degree murder charges against five officers. “Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God when they hold […]
16 hours ago
The Federal Reserve unanimously approved a quarter-point interest rate hike Wednesday, slowing the ...
Nicole Goodkind, CNN

Fed approves small rate hike, nodding to improved inflation outlook

The decision comes after months of large rate increases intended to cool the economy and marks a return to a more traditional interest-rate policy.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Associate professor at BYU charged with sexual abuse