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Heber City man charged with exploiting teen girl in Arizona

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A criminal charge against a former Latter-day Saint bishop accusing him of inappropriately touching a girl has been dismissed.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man who worked with the Wasatch School District was charged Wednesday with soliciting explicit photos from a 15-year-old Arizona girl.

Dale Robert Lawrence, 28, of Heber City, is charged in Wasatch County’s 4th District Court with 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; dealing in harmful materials to a minor, a third-degree felony; and four counts of enticing a minor by internet or text, a class A misdemeanor.

The investigation began in May 2019 when a 16-year-old girl from Arizona contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saying she had been in communication with Lawrence since March 2018 — when she was 15 — using Snapchat, according to charging documents.

The girl said Lawrence convinced her to send him nude and provocative photos and videos of herself, the charges state. He also is accused of sending her messages “ordering” her to film some sex acts and allegedly “referred to (the girl) as his sexual submissive.”

During the month of March 2018, Lawrence received at least 15 images and videos from the girl, the charges state.

The girl said she stopped communicating with Lawrence in June 2018. She said she looked up his Facebook page and found news articles about him being a high school wrestler and suffering a traumatic injury.

Prosecutors in the Utah Attorney General’s Office stated in charging documents that Lawrence “is a guidance counselor at a high school and routinely interacts with underage children who are the same age as (the girl).”

However, a spokeswoman with the school district said Lawrence was not a guidance counselor and is no longer employed by the district.

“He was hired as an aide beginning in January 2017 and separated from the district earlier this month,” said Wasatch County School District spokeswoman Kirsta Albert.

A summons was issued Wednesday for Lawrence to appear at a future court date.