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Utah man allegedly posing as young girl online arrested in child porn case

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A sign at the entrance to the Utah County Jail in Spanish Fork is pictured on Monday, March 22, 2021. Police say a Saratoga Springs man who claimed he was trying to “catfish” others on social media was booked into the jail Thursday and accused of possessing child pornography.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A man who claimed he was collecting images of young girls to use to catfish other people on social media has been arrested and accused of possessing child pornography.

Patrick Brady Fox, 39, of Saratoga Springs, was booked into the Utah County Jail on Thursday for investigation of three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The investigation began in December when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received information that possible child pornography involving children between the ages of 6 and 8 was being uploaded to an Instagram account, according to police booking affidavit.

After tracking down the house where the images were allegedly being uploaded, police served a search warrant on Fox’s home on Thursday.

When interviewed by police, Fox admitted that he had an Instagram account in which he posed as a 15-year-old girl, the affidavit states.

“Patrick confirmed that he has used Instagram to ‘catfish’ people online, pretending to be a young female. He stated that he has downloaded hundreds of images of young girls that could be perceived as underage, however (he) stated that he got the images from ‘reputable porn (sites)’ so they could not (have) been under 18-years old,” according to the affidavit.

Catfishing is when someone creates a fictitious persona online or on social media and typically targets a victim for financial gain or tries to compromise the victim or intentionally upset them.

Investigators did a quick search of Fox’s computer and found pornographic images of young girls who appeared to be between the ages of 14 and 16, the affidavit says.