A Spanish Fork man was arrested Thursday for alleged sexual exploitation of a minor after authorities received an anonymous tip.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the Spanish Fork Police Department received an anonymous tip that 32-year-old Bendigo Joseph Lawrence of Spanish Fork was allegedly in possession of child pornography on Wednesday.
The alleged pornography, as well as other harmful material, was reportedly being stored on a USB drive inside of his residence.
Detectives reviewed the anonymous tip, asserting that, based off of the initial investigation and the statement provided to police, there was enough probable cause to draft a search warrant. The search warrant was then approved and signed by a Fourth District judge.
Authorities responded to Lawrence’s residence Thursday to execute the search warrant, and the warrant was served without incident, according to arrest documents. While executing the search warrant, authorities detained Lawrence and advised him of his rights.
During an interview with police, Lawrence allegedly told officials he was involved in child pornography, reportedly confirming the tip provided to police. Lawrence also allegedly told police the pornography was stored on a USB drive in his bedroom.
Through further questioning, Lawrence allegedly said he used his computer — located in the bedroom — to download child pornography and move it to the USB drive. In accordance with the search warrant, the USB drive and all other electronic equipment used to download the exploitative material was seized, according to the probable cause affidavit.
All seized items were turned over to Utah County evidence personnel and have been submitted for analysis.
According to arrest documents, an initial scan of the USB drive revealed at least 60 images and videos of child pornography, including images of adult men forcing pubescent and pre-pubescent female children to engage in sexual activities. Some of the children involved were estimated to be about 4-6 years old.
Lawrence allegedly currently works with underage, troubled youth.
Lawrence was arrested under the suspicion of second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor. He is currently being held at the Utah County Jail on an unspecified amount of bail.