Mesquite Police detective accused of sex abuse, exploitation of St. George teen

Local News

ST. GEORGE, Utah (News4Utah) – A Mesquite City Police detective is being accused of sexual exploitation and sex abuse of a St. George teen, according to St. George News

According to charging documents, Detective Gary Erickson, 50, of Bunkerville, Nevada, was issued an arrest warrant last week by the St. George Police Department after being charged with multiple felonies including sexual exploitation of a minor, dealing harmful materials to a minor and sex abuse of a minor. 

Mesquite Police Sgt. Quinn Averett told St. George News that Erickson has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Because the investigation is active, they declined to make any other statements. 

Arresting documents state the sex offenses occurred between Erickson and a 15-year-old boy who lives in St. George. When the boy’s parents found pictures of nude photographs from an adult male, they went to police. 

The teen told police he knew the man as Eric Smith and he met the man through a dating app in March called ‘Grindr’. The app requires anyone who uses it to be 18 years of age but the boy told authorities he lied about his age on the app. Comments made by Erickson in the app show he was aware the boy was not 18. 

Several images were also exchanged between the boy and Erickson via Snapchat. The two eventually met at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center where sexual acts were performed in the locker room. 

The affidavit said the teen was able to give a description of the man involved and positively identified him in a photo line up as Erickson. 

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