SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes recently announced the arrest of thirteen individuals in Utah County following a recent operation targeting child sexual predators.

The investigation, led by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, revealed the suspects primarily targeted boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 13 years old. These offenders are considered among the most dangerous and aggressive child predators, because their activity indicates a plan to engage in sexual contact with a minor.

Charges include enticing a minor, attempted rape of a child, attempted sodomy on a child, attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, attempted forcible sexual abuse, criminal solicitation and more, for a total of 48 charges.

“The bad news is the information we are sharing today is grim in nature and shows that there are adults in our communities who appear to be actively and aggressively trying to have sexual contact with Utah children,” said Attorney General Reyes.

“My office works with children who are actual victims of sexual abuse and rape, we see these children and the trauma they suffer. That’s why we perform these operations, and why we’re so committed to preventing harm where we can and prosecuting every possible crime against children that we can,” Reyes said, “Our goal is to prevent this kind of trauma from happening to even one more child.”

Based on the number of cases law enforcement agencies have handled across the state, evidence shows that this problem has become more pervasive in the last year.

Attorney General Reyes addressed that troubling trend May 20 during a press conference alongside ICAC officers from the Provo Police Department, Orem Police Department, Utah County Sheriff’s office, Uintah County Sheriff’s office, Dixie State University Police, Davis County Attorney’s office and Adult Probation and Parole who all participated in the operation.

Keeping children safe

The Utah Attorney General’s ICAC Education Specialist has the following tips:

1. As school lets out and summer starts, this is a good time to remind children that they should never meet anyone they met online.

2. Be aware of the websites and apps the children are using. A current list of popular apps and websites can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Parent-App-Resource-Sheet.pdf.

As community members, the ICAC role is to help protect children. If you know of anyone who is contacting children, please call the local law enforcement or the ICAC Tip Line at (801) 281-1211.

Notes

1. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children.

2. Those interested can find a list of the charging documents here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Criminal-Charges-from-Utah-County-Attorneys-Office-.pdf.

3. In addition, those interested can find the booking photos here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ICAC-Operation-Booking-photos.pdf.