Father of Utah music group charged with abuse

The patriarch of a prominent family musical group has been charged with sexually abusing his three daughters in a stunning revelation that was followed four days later by the father careening his Porsche off a 300-foot enbankment into an icy stream.

The patriarch of a prominent family musical group has been charged with sexually abusing his three daughters in a stunning revelation that was followed four days later by the father careening his Porsche off a 300-foot enbankment into an icy stream.

Keith Brown, whose daughters are part of The 5 Browns, survived the crash and faces one first-degree felony count of sodomy on a child and two second-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of a child, according to Fourth District Court records obtained Wednesday.

The 5 Browns are a classical piano group from Utah that features the three sisters and their two brothers. The Juilliard-trained siblings have achieved critical and popular acclaim while appearing on "Oprah," "The View" and other shows, and being profiled by "60 Minutes."

Their CDs have topped the Billboard classical music charts and their concerts often sellout in all 50 states and in Japan, Germany, France, Korea, Mexico and England.

The records filed Feb. 10 in the abuse case don't identify any victim by name or indicate the relationship between Keith Brown and the alleged victims.

However, Kimball Thomson, a spokesman for The 5 Browns, said the charges involve Brown's daughters and group members Desirae, 32, Deondra, 30, and Melody, 26. He declined to release further information on the women.

"We can confirm that Keith Brown has been charged with sexual abuse involving his daughters," Thomson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The AP does not generally identify people who say they were sexually assaulted, but the Brown women have chosen to be identified and are cooperating with police, Thomson said.

Attorney Steven Shapiro, who represents 55-year-old Keith Brown, said he would not comment on the charges until Brown makes an initial court appearance set for Thursday in Provo.

Court documents state the allegations stem from separate occasions between November 1990 and October 1992, November 1990 and November 1992 and March 1997 and March 1998 in Utah County.

There are no statutes of limitation in Utah that prevent prosecutors from filing such sex crime charges.

Thomson said the Brown children severed their professional relationship with Keith Brown in October of 2008. He was once the manager of The 5 Browns but now has no connection, Thomson said.

Keith Brown and Lisa Brown, 54, the mother of the group members, were hospitalized after the Valentine's Day crash that mangled the Porsche beyond recognition in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the east side of the Salt Lake valley.

The couple had dined at Snowbird ski resort prior to the accident, said Unified Fire Authority Battalion Chief Mike Ulibarri. The Browns were initially knocked unconscious, but Keith Brown woke and was able to call 911 from a cell phone.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation, although Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said speed appeared to be a factor.

Investigators found tire marks from braking near the spot where the Porsche left the road.

"That's part of the evidence that leads us to believe it was a traffic accident and that speed left him unable to negotiate the turn in the canyon," Hoyal said.

Investigators have sought a blood sample from Keith Brown to check for drug or alcohol use as another possible factor in the crash.

No updates were available on the medical conditions of Keith and Lisa Brown. Shapiro would not confirm reports that Keith Brown had been released from the hospital.

The Lone Peak Police Department, which investigated the sex abuse allegations, referred all questions about the case to the Utah County attorney's office. A telephone message left for Deputy County Attorney David Sturgill was not immediately returned.

If convicted, Keith Brown could face a sentence of up to life in prison on the first-degree felony and up to 15 years each on the second-degree felonies.

The children had visited their parents at hospitals and were hopeful for speedy recoveries, Thomson said. Their performance schedule would not be affected by the developments, he said.

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