Sundance Film Festival Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Abuse

(INSET: Sterling Van Wagenen) President and Founder of the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford, attends the opening day press conference to kick-off the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 21, 2016. / AFP / Valerie MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty, Rick Egan /The Salt Lake Tribune, via AP, Pool

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) — A Utah filmmaker who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival and produced an Oscar-winning movie in the mid-1980s has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child.

Sterling Van Wagenen entered the plea Tuesday during a court hearing in American Fork, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. Van Wagenen’s attorney Steven Shapiro said that his client wanted to “acknowledge wrongful conduct.”

Prosecutors charged Van Wagenen earlier this month on accusations that he inappropriately touched a young girl on two occasions between 2013 and 2015.

The 71-year-old co-founded a Utah film festival that came to be known as Sundance Film Festival with Robert Redford, but hasn’t been with the organization for more than two decades.

He was a producer on the 1985 film “The Trip to Bountiful.”


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