LEHI, Utah (ABC4) — Three people were arrested in a joint operation between Lehi City Police Department, the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Bureau of Investigations, and several other task force officers last week.
The chat operation included law enforcement posing as minors in chatrooms online. Lehi Police said it’s important for everyone to remember that the goal of online predators is to arrange a secret meeting in person and that suspects will travel “hundreds of miles” to make it happen.
In one case, a man who police say is about 60 years old was arrested after he allegedly set up a meeting with a detective he thought was a minor. He was booked into jail on enticement of a minor and dealing in harmful materials.
Police called a second case “especially heinous,” as it involved a suspect who was attempting to set up a meeting with a young child in exchange for money to the child’s parent. The parent, who was actually an undercover agent, agreed to a payment amount and set up a meeting with the suspect. The suspect was taken into custody at the meeting location and was booked into Utah County Jail on three counts of attempted sodomy of a child and enticement of a minor.
The third and final arrest came after an adult man was chatting with who he believed was a 13-year-old child. Police said the conversation progressed and a meeting was set up. He was also arrested on charges of attempted rape of a child, enticement of a minor, attempted sodomy of a child and dealing in harmful materials.
“We are grateful for the partnership that we have with these agencies and the dedicated individuals that form the task force,” said Lehi City Police Department. “We will continue to host these operations every chance we get and do whatever else we can to try and protect the children of our communities from the predators of the world.”
Lehi City Police said parents can help with their campaign against online predators by having conversations with their children about online safety.
Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.