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Ex-fire captain charged in pornography case

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A former South Jordan Fire captain has been charged this week with downloading child pornography.

Michael Farnsworth, 45, was charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, Tuesday in 3rd District Court.

In a July 18 meeting with investigators, Farnsworth said he had viewed images of child pornography over the past five years, but deleted the pornography after being confronted by his wife in May, police wrote.

"Farnsworth stated that for the past few years he had accessed both adult and child pornography" on his home and work computers, according to the charging documents. The man said he accessed the images through a Web site three to four times per week, searching for photographs of children ages 13 to 17, according to court documents.

Farnsworth, who had been employed by South Jordan since 1991, resigned July 18, the same day he met with investigators, said Paul Cunningham, the city's human resources director.

In May of last year, Farnsworth's daughter discovered the man's MySpace.com account, which had a profile stating he was 21 and single. The account had about "90 friends, mostly female and under-age," police wrote. Farnsworth said he had set up the account to keep tabs on his children, according to the charging document.

Farnsworth's wife placed the family's computer in a storage shed after the incident.

Police began investigating Farnsworth in July after a tip from a co-worker of Farnsworth's wife. Investigators searched the computers in the shed and found multiple photos of child pornography, despite software that wiped the hard drives and "made recovery difficult and impossible in some instances," police wrote.

E-mail: afalk@desnews.com