An Orem man pleaded not guilty to reportedly sexually abusing his daughter in front of a caseworker last year at the Department of Child and Family Services office in Orem.

Danial Shoell, 40, was charged September 2018 with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

His 11-month-old daughter is currently in DCFS custody, according to caseworker Julie Stark-John. At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, she spoke about the alleged abuse she witnessed in 2018 at the Orem facility.

The infant first came into DCFS care on the day she was born, Stark-John explained. The biological mother did not want the baby and reportedly delivered the baby in a toilet at a home in Orem.

Shoell called 911 and paramedics reportedly found the baby blue in the face on the floor. The girl stayed in the newborn intensive care unit of a hospital for two weeks as caseworkers found a Utah County couple to care for the child.

Weekly supervised visits were later scheduled between Shoell and his infant daughter, Stark-John said.

“She was always crying or very upset when she was interacting with Danial,” the caseworker stated. “We never left him alone with (the child). Never.”

During a scheduled appointment on May 2, Shoell reportedly visited his daughter at the department in Orem. Stark-John said she sat in the doorway of the visitation room and watched as Shoell held his daughter.

When another caseworker walked over and spoke with Shoell, Stark-John noticed Shoell held the child in one arm and stroked the private parts of the baby with his fingers.

“As soon as I noticed his fingers moving, I slapped his hand away and said ‘do not touch her there,’” Stark-John said in court.

The baby was fully clothed with a diaper, she said. Stark-John immediately ended the visit and reported the incident to her supervisors at the office.

She then reportedly sent an email with details of the abuse to department officials who could open an investigation about the incident. But officials reportedly never received the email.

The visitation room is equipped with video cameras, but as no department investigation was open, the footage of the visit was deleted after 30 days in accordance with standard procedure.

Utah County Attorney Craig Johnson said DCFS completed an interior investigation about the alleged incident.

Shoell is being held at the Utah County Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bail.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or

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