A disgraced former geography professor at Mormon-founded Brigham Young University in Utah who has been accused of sexually abusing a student after he allegedly told her she had to ride him in order to aligning her “crotch chakra”, was hit with five new counts.
Michael James Clay, 47, who led urban and regional planning in the geography department, faces seven counts of forced sexual abuse after two new victims recently came forward.
The educator, who had the ability to hire interns and teaching assistants, was fired in 2020 after being charged with two counts of forcible sexual abuse when another student accused him of sexual assault .
He is due in court on all seven counts, which constitute a second-degree felony, on February 14.
Former Brigham Young University geography professor Michael James Clay, 47, faces seven charges of forcible sexual abuse
Clay, from Springville, Utah, was first accused of sexual assault by an international student in March 2020. The teacher, she said, would play “meditation music” during their sessions, told her said her office was a ‘safe place’ and that ‘she shouldn’t tell anyone what happened there.’
Clay met with her a few times a week between January 2017 and March 2020, according to court documents, more than 20 times in total. He allegedly convinced the student to straddle him during their therapy sessions, telling her she needed to align her “crotch chakra.”
He explained that there were three major influences on a woman’s life: heavenly father, mortal father, and husband, according to court documents. Since she had no husband, he said, she was unbalanced – but, he said, he could act as a substitute.
This victim ultimately told BYU police that Clay “then touched her in places that no teacher should ever do.”
Clay reminded her that he was in a position of authority over her when she expressed her discomfort, and authorities said he would “use religion to manipulate her into feeling a certain way.” .
‘(Clay) has the authority to hire interns and teaching assistants under this scheme. (He) told the victim that if she trusted him more he might be able to hire her but that he wanted to wait and see how she improved. (Clay) told the victim he was very powerful in the victim’s field of study,” court documents read.
When this student mentioned seeking advice from a mental health professional, Clay told her that if she did, they would stop meeting and that “she could continue meeting him because he understood and cared about her. of her”.
On one occasion, he told this victim that he was praying for her and that he felt inspired by God to physically touch her.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told Deseret News that Clay had not been an employee of the university since approximately mid-April 2020 and referred all other matters to the Utah County District Attorney’s Office. .
One of the most recent victims was interned for Clay between January 2018 and December 2019. He told her that he had ‘all by himself put together the broken pieces of many girls and that if she wanted to feel love again of our Heavenly Father, she should come and talk to him in his office,” according to court documents.
He allegedly asked her about her sex life and whether she masturbated, according to court documents.
Another student was a member of the department headed by Clay and was also his employee at a private company. She started working for him in 2017. Like the first victim, he told the student that their encounters replaced working with a licensed therapist.
He also gave her priesthood blessings and questioned her about her sex life, according to court documents.
The alleged sexual abuse took place between 2017 and 2020 at Brigham Young University in Utah
The student was afraid to speak out about the abuse because Clay held power over her career aspirations, according to the charging documents.
It’s unclear when the abuse began, but it didn’t stop until the COVID-19 pandemic prevented their face-to-face encounters, according to court documents.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told the Deseret News that Clay had not been an employee of the university since about mid-April and referred all other matters to the Utah County District Attorney’s Office.