TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains details of an attempt to entice a minor. Report child pornography, or sexual crimes against children to law enforcement by contacting the ICAC Tip Line at 801.281.1211 or your local law enforcement agency.
KAYSVILLE, Utah (ABC4) –A former Kaysville firefighter pleaded guilty Tuesday for attempting to entice a minor on social media, who was actually an undercover officer posing as a minor.
Andrew Austin Leonard, 29, was arrested and terminated from employment on January 7 for allegedly attempting to entice a minor through the internet and dealing in materials harmful to minors. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to the charge of attempting to entice a minor.
Leonard was arrested while he was at the Kaysville Fire Department for having a sexually inappropriate conversation with a person believed to be 13 years old. According to court documents, Leonard allegedly told the “13-year-old” he was 20 and engaged in sexual text messages, asking her to perform sexual acts on herself, send him pictures, and more.
He reportedly also sent partially nude images of himself to the “13-year-old” while at work. Leonard eventually told her he was actually 29 but continued to message her in a sexual nature.
Officers said Leonard’s actions are a “common behavior among individuals who actively seek to engage in illegal behaviors with minors.”
Leonard pleaded guilty to his charge of attempted enticing of a minor in the 2nd District Court on March 14. His plea deal, if accepted by the courts, would dismiss the charge of dealing in materials harmful to minors and would allow him to petition to reduce the felony conviction to a class A misdemeanor if he completes probation and jail time.
The officers filing the arrest record said the following about Leonard:
“[He] works in a capacity of special trust and has regular contact with juveniles and at times they may be unresponsive. [He] also stated that he has children who were around the same age of the persona.”
The Kaysville Fire Department responded to the allegations and said, “Any allegation of a crime against children must be taken seriously. Such allegations are extremely rare, and when one occurs, we take immediate action,” the statement said. “As a City, we provide regular training to employees about recognizing and preventing sexual harassment.”
The court could sentence Leonard to up to 10 years in prison. For the charge of enticement of a minor, he could be charged 0 to 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a 90% surcharge, which is $4,500 more. If they decline his plea deal, he can also be charged an additional 0-5 years in prison for harmful materials provided to minors, a fine of at least $1,000, and $10 for each article of harmful material to minors.
Leonard’s sentencing is scheduled for May 5, at the 2nd District Court in Weber County. This is when they will rule on his plea deal request, and impose jail time.