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Two charged in southern Utah for allegedly trying to arrange sex with minors, police say

SHARE Two charged in southern Utah for allegedly trying to arrange sex with minors, police say
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SALT LAKE CITY — A recent undercover online sting in southern Utah looking for child sex predators resulted in several people being charged, including at least two for criminal conspiracy.

Michael Roy Erskine, 68, of St. George, and Joseph William Cooke, 73, of Kanab, were each charged with the first-degree felony on Thursday in 5th District Court. Erskine was charged with two counts and Cooke with one. Erskine was also charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, a third-degree felony, and Cooke with enticing a minor, a second-degree felony.

During the online operation, a law enforcer posed as a father “that was looking for men to have sex with my 11-year-old daughter,” according to charging documents.

Both Erskine and Cooke replied to the undercover officer and “engaged in highly sexual conversation,” the charges state. Both men arranged to meet the father and daughter at separate times, and were arrested when they showed up at the designed locations.

After they was arrested, both men also claimed they weren’t actually going to engage in sex with the child, according to the charges.