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SMUT ON THE NET LEADS TO ARREST, GUILTY PLEA

SHARE SMUT ON THE NET LEADS TO ARREST, GUILTY PLEA

A Cedar City man was arrested for allegedly obtaining child pornography off the Internet. Two weeks later, he pleaded guilty to three of 15 charges against him, all of which carry a possible prison sentence of one to 15 years in prison.

For Iron County, it is the first arrest and conviction of its kind.Authorities were led to the 31-year-old man by the owner of a company that provides access to the Internet. Apparently the man downloaded so much information that an alarm in the company's system alerted the owner to a problem, said County Attorney Scott Burns.

The owner of the company, who didn't want to be identified, got into the system to find out what the problem was. His search led him to the man police later arrested, or at least to his computer system.

Once inside the man's computer system, the company owner found "voluminous amounts" of pornography that showed sex acts involving children, including infants, Burns said.

"I have never seen more disgusting and evil pictures in my life, and the word should go out that this office will aggressively prosecute any person who accesses child pornography via the Internet," Burns said.

The company owner made copies of the pornography in the man's system, and then took it to authorities. Local and state authorities obtained a search warrant from information and material the company's owner gave them, Burns said.

That information resulted in the man being charged with 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second degree felony. At a preliminary hearing, June 18, the man pleaded guilty to three of those charges, Burns said.

The man will be sentenced in early August.

Burn said he plans to find out how that information is posted on the Internet, but the information he has now says that might not be possible.

"What I've been told so far is that anyone can leave anything on the Internet and not leave a fingerprint," he said. But anticipating future investigations of this type, Burns said he plans to educate himself and his staff on the subject and look into that aspect.