Utah missionary arrested for child porn in California

Top Stories

FREMONT, California (ABC4 News)- A Pleasant Grove man serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Wednesday morning in California for distributing child pornography.

The now, ex-missionary, 19-year-old Hayden Hunter, was in Fremont at the time of his arrest, according to the Mountain View Police Department.

Katie Nelson, a public information officer with the Northern California department, said while he was arrested in Fremont, the investigation began in nearby community, Mountain View.

She said it began in September 2019, when the department’s cyber detectives received a tip that a person in a private, Facebook Messenger group chat was connected to more than 20 cyber tips relating to suspected child pornography.

“There was suspected child pornography being shared amongst those members and email in particular was attached to that message group and so, over the course of our investigation, several months, we ultimately discovered that this email address was associated with an individual by the name of Hayden Hunter,” Nelson said.

On the department’s Facebook page, they also note the “Facebook Messenger group included members possibly as young as 13 years old.”

And that during their extensive investigation “detectives had to cull through and ultimately identify numerous videos and images of what was determined to be child pornography.”

Nelson said Hunter is being held in the Santa Clara County Jail.

In a statement to ABC4 News, the Latter-day Saint church said:

“The allegations against this young man are very serious and are completely against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There can be no tolerance for child pornography. It is among the most serious of sins and something for which the Church requires formal restrictions on membership, including a likely loss of membership in the Church.

The allegations against this young man are very serious, and are completely against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There can be no tolerance for child pornography. It is among the most serious of sins, and something for which the Church requires formal restrictions on membership, including a likely loss of membership.”

Eric Hawkins, church spokesperson

Mountain View officers continue their Facebook post stating their concern of “additional victims online who may have interacted with Hunter either online or in person.”

They’re asking anyone who interacted with the alias email he was using “katieteal15@gmail.com”, or anyone who may have interacted with him during his time as a missionary to contact Sgt. Tim Dahl at timothy.dahl@mountainview.gov.

Report child pornography to law enforcement by contacting the ICAC Tip Line at 801.281.1211 or your local law enforcement agency.

Latest stories:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate