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Convicted Kearns sex offender now faces human trafficking charge

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Kearns man convicted in November of possessing child pornography now faces allegations of human trafficking after investigators say they discovered he was selling sexually explicit homemade videos online.

Craig Thomas Defa, 27, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with human trafficking, a first-degree felony, and six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Friday.

In November, Defa pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and unlawful conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, in exchange for 11 other counts of sexual exploitation of a minor being dismissed. He was given a suspended prison sentence and placed on probation. Defa was also required to register as a sex offender in Utah.

After his conviction, the Utah Attorney General’s Office received information that Defa may have also been involved in human trafficking, according to his new charging documents.

In March, investigators met with a woman who said she was 14 when she met Defa in 2015. The two became sexually active after two weeks and the relationship turned violent after six months, the charges state.

The woman stayed in the relationship, however, until Defa’s arrest in June of 2019.

She told investigators that during the final year of their relationship, “Defa made multiple pornographic videos of himself and (the woman) which were sold online. (She) disclosed that Defa told her she would not need to work full-time because she could make money selling these pornographic videos and images,” the charges state.

Defa allegedly sold the videos to clients he found on social media. He also encouraged the woman to “post ads to recruit customers,” according to charging documents.

When police reviewed some of the videos on the woman’s phone, they reported finding videos and pictures that were taken when the woman was still a minor.

“A forensic review of the victim’s phone and Facebook account confirmed 35 videos and images of (the victim) when she was under the age of 18,” the charges state.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.