Utah authorities arrest dozens in child-porn investigation

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sex crimesAfter 114 sex crime investigations, 124 computer seizures, more than 36 million images, thousands of overtime hours and 39 arrests, Utah’s Internet crime investigators on Thursday offered a flat proclamation for their month-long, statewide child-pornography bust.

“It’s a pin prick,” said Cache County detective Vicky Carver. “In everything that’s out there, this is a drop in the bucket.”

But in last month’s investigation, small drops yielded big arrests: A Pleasant Grove man was released from prison in November after serving 15 years for multiple rapes; in March, investigators found child pornography on four computers, three cell phones, four external hard drives and 10 thumb drives at his home. A Salt Lake County man, in a previous conviction for possessing child pornography, served two days in jail and six months home confinement; in March, he was charged with 20 new felony counts.

“In my estimation, pedophiles spend way too little time behind bars,” said state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, whose office oversees the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. “People … can’t be cured of an addiction.”

Thirteen of the 39 men arrested are from Utah County, more than any of the 18 counties targeted. Twelve are from Salt Lake County and seven are from Cache County.

“The ‘profile’ is any man older than 17,” warned task force commander Jessica Farnsworth.

The 114 suspects contacted during March included businessmen, teachers, physicians, civic leaders and construction workers, Farnsworth said. One of the men charged is a Salt Lake County woodworker whose toymaking business has received coverage in statewide media.

One woman was investigated, Farnsworth said.

Source: SLTRIB