Orem law enforcement arrested a local man after he allegedly downloaded hundreds of pictures involving child sex abuse or child exploitation on his devices.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, 29-year-old Ryan Michael Didier of Orem was arrested after he allegedly accepted a BitTorrent network through a peer-to-peer sharing software to download hundreds of pictures involved in police investigations.
Peer-to-peer software allows users to share and download files with people also using the same or compatible software. For a user to become a part of the BitTorrent network, the user must first obtain BitTorrent software.
BitTorrent users wanting to share files can create a “torrent” file that contains information about the files and provides a method for a user to download the files. According to police, torrent files are typically found with keyword searches on host sites.
On Jan. 14, a law enforcement officer for the Orem Police Department was authorized to conduct a criminal investigation on potential violations against Utah code involving crimes of sexual exploitation against minors.
The detective with the department’s special victims unit who is also a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began the online investigation on the BitTorrent network, specifically involving offenders sharing child abuse or child exploitation material. The investigation was initiated for a device at a specific IP address, and the torrent file referenced 547 files with at least one being identified as a file of investigative interest.
A direct connection was made to a “suspect device” between 6:53 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. and 460 files were successfully downloaded to the device. Records indicate the suspect device was the sole candidate for each download.
Of the 460 images, at least three investigative pictures that included images consistent with sexual exploitation of a minor as defined by Utah code were downloaded.
On Jan. 16, law enforcement obtained a judicial order that was drafted and signed by a Fourth District Court judge before it was emailed to a company that could supply officials with the suspect device’s subscriber information, including a possible name, address and phone number.
After securing the subscriber’s information, Orem officials found that several individuals were residing at the location provided and reached out to the U.S. Postal Inspector to determine who, if anyone further, was living at the location. Officials drafted a probable cause statement and search warrant over one week apart after receiving that information.
On Feb. 12, the search warrant was served on the suspect’s residence at Orem where police conducted several interviews and seized over 50 electronic devices, although no arrests were made.
On a laptop belonging to Didier, officials found torrent information downloaded on Dec. 5 as well as several pieces of evidence specific to illegal child exploitation material.
The Orem Police Department is requesting that Didier be charged with 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, each a second-degree felony charge, for being in possession of child pornography.