UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Authorities Monday announced a “terrible trend” — a spike in online predators targeting Utah children.
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) officials said Monday they had conducted a 3-month sting in Utah County, which resulted in 13 people arrested and charged.
“The 13 people that we arrested were actively, actively seeking to either rape or sodomize children,” said Jessica Farnsworth, ICAC task force commander.
“We’re seeing an increase in online activity,” added Farnsworth.
The operation was surprising, officials on Monday said. Farnsworth says the numbers are on pace to triple those of last year.
“This was a relatively short operation, with astounding numbers,” said one official during Monday’s news conference. He said only a fraction of criminals were caught as a part of this sting.
Utah County court officials pledged aggressive prosecution.
“Attempted rape of a child, attempted sodomy of a child, criminal solicitation — these all carry mandatory prison sentences of 15 years to life in prison,” said Christine Scott, Deputy Utah County Attorney.
The names of those arrested are as follows:
Adam Friel, 31, of Provo
Alberto Andrade, 31, of Provo
Carlos Portillo, 48, of Provo
Jared Park, 28, of Provo
Lehi Spencer Santiago Lastra, 38, of Provo
Matia Ignacio Kandalaft Ruminot, 29, of Orem
Dustin Bellmore, 30, of Mapleton
Steven Bryce Holmberg, 60,of Springville
Timothy Dickerson, 29, of Taylorsville
Tylor Berube, 27, of Clinton
Tysen Toone, 20, of Orem
Brysen Kenneth Lee, 19, of Mapleton
Kelly Glen Herring, 33, of Magna